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Commission OKs revamped financial controls
How the county works with financial institutions revised
new deh county commission james jordan mug
County Treasurer-elect James Jordan

The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved an updated resolution outlining how the county manages accounts with financial institutions, a change that also revamps the duties of the county treasurer and others who touch county funds.

It was county Finance Officer Matt Patzner who presented the proposal, but County Treasurer-elect James Jordan had a hand in the proposal, Patzner said. Jordan will be sworn in to succeed Kevin Wondra on Oct. 10.

“Our treasurer-elect is working well with the people in place,” Commission Chairman Jennifer Schartz said. “This will make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Although the commission has had ongoing issues with the Treasurer’s Office under Wondra, Patzner said no one particular issue sparked this revision. “It’s something we’ve kind of visited for awhile.” 

Patzner said Barton County strives to perform all duties in an efficient manner that follows state and federal law. On occasion, it is determined that a policy is needed to assure that prescribed tasks continue to be performed in a judicious manner. 

Highlights of the resolution include:

• Update to title of the previous resolution. Includes “Describing Limitations for the Creation of Accounts and Prescribed Signatories.”

• Removed “financial officer” from duties that will be assigned to the treasurer.

• Assigns the power to open accounts to the treasurer.

It was discovered that a bank was charging the county service fees. By allowing the treasurer this authority, it could  help save the county “a considerable amount of money,” Schartz said.

• Signatories shall be limited to: The treasurer, as well as a maximum of two designees within his or her office; the county clerk, as well as a maximum of two designees within his or her office; the chairman of the commission with the exception that signatory status be limited to accounts payable and payroll accounts; and the county financial officer.

• The county treasurer is responsible for updating signature cards.

• Signatories shall be bonded, which is a new added expense.

• If the treasurer is unable to complete these duties, the County Commission can assign said tasks to the financial officer. 

There was a question as to what constitutes being “unable to complete these duties.” Since this is an elected position and with the separation of powers, the commission can’t just intervene.

Patzner said this would be a factor should the treasurer suffer from some physical ailment that would prevent him or her from working.

• The treasurer will provide the financial officer with the authorization to view county accounts electronically at each designated financial institution.