Our View: Parks and Rec has work to do

Published 9:29 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Recent news of the poor financial audit for the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation likely evoked mixed emotions for many citizens.

One one hand, it was very disappointing to see the quasi-public entity’s finances were being handled in a way that failed to meet standard accounting practices and lacked significant checks and balances. On the other, it is encouraging to know the board requested the audit and is already well on its way to implementing necessary changes to prevent this from ever happening again.

However, in our minds, one glaring issue remains unresolved: A crime was committed but not reported to the authorities.

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The audit determined an employee stole more than $15,000 from the parks district. That individual was confronted, allowed to repay the money and resign without any legal consequences.

That is simply wrong.

Theft, at every level, remains a crime and should have been reported to the police. Then, the onus is on law enforcement and the legal system to determine if charges should be filed or how the incident should be handled.

With minimal repercussions, what is to stop this individual from doing something like this again? How would a potential employer know this individual has a history of stealing from their workplace?

Despite the fact the former employee made restitution, we feel this should still be turned over to the Winchester Police Department so they can be allowed to do their jobs.

Most of the other audit infractions amount to sloppy paperwork or improper record keeping. This is certainly inexcusable but also relatively easily fixed.

Parks and rec receives more than 60 percent of its funding from city and county government. That makes this entity accountable to taxpayers and responsible for what goes on within its walls.

In this case, the audit was voluntary. That has to end as well.

These audits should become a requirement since so much of its funding comes from the taxpayers. We urge city and county leaders to push for this change immediately.

Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation does an amazing job offering valuable services to the community.

We expect its leaders to put that same level of energy and focus in keeping its finances in order.