Montgomery County Controller, Stewart Greenleaf, Jr., announced on Wednesday that his staff will begin annual audits of Montgomery County's thirty Magisterial District Courts. Despite the substantial amount of county funds held by the District Courts, about $3 million per year, the county has not performed an audit of those funds since 1996, sixteen years ago.
"The District Judges in Montgomery County are known for their professionalism. However, with receipts of over $20 million a year, the funds held by the District Courts are too significant to go unaudited by the county", Greenleaf said.
He added that the audits would not only protect county funds, but also encourage best practices among the District Courts to ensure that persons who have contact with the courts cannot take advantage of lax financial
"Importantly," Greenleaf said, "these additional audits will be performed even though we have decreased the number of staff in the Controller's Office, improving our efficiency."
Greenleaf noted the annual audits are particularly important at this time. Although the District Courts should be audited by the Pennsylvania Auditor General, that office is behind in its audits by several years. Consequently, combined with the absence of county audits, the tens of millions of dollars held by Montgomery County District Courts have gone without any outside oversight for several years, Greenleaf credited Second Deputy for Audit, Bernadette Vereb, with spearheading the effort and bringing the county's statutorily required financial audits up to date after they had fallen behind prior to 2012.
"Now that this office is meeting its statutory obligations, we can move onto perform audits, like the District Courts, that are not required by statute but should be done anyway."