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County gets new general ledger, implements changes to ‘clean up’

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The Morgan County clerk is setting up a new general ledger to correct a year’s long problem, necessitating some shift in job responsibilities among county departments.

When the council hired their secretary almost a year ago, it was with a three-fold charge to take over human resources and payroll in addition to her secretarial duties to the council.  It has been a big role to fill, and Secretary Tauna MacPherson is asking for a reprieve by temporarily passing the Morgan County Council transcription and minute duties to the county clerk auditor.

Clerk/Auditor Stacy Clark processed payroll in the past, an effort that took up a whole day every two weeks.  Together, Clark and MacPherson will process payroll together until MacPherson can handle it alone.  The transition is needed because the county is making changes to the Caselle government accounting software system to “better code things,” Clark said. 

“We are cleaning up the general ledger, which was out of balance years before I was here,” said Clark, who was first elected 18 years ago.  During annual audits, the independent county auditor Charles Ulrich “and others have acknowledged it is a year’s long problem.  That is what was dropped in my lap.”

To correct the problem that has stretched on for years, Clark, in consultation with the independent auditor, has decided to set the old ledgers aside and set up a new general ledger “to better account for new insurance and better audit the payroll accounts going forward,” Clark said.  “We will start with a whole fresh set of books.  Hopefully it will clean it up.”

The county treasurer will still reconcile the payroll, but will no longer distribute the paystubs as she has in the past.

Before MacPherson took over HR, the county outsourced it.  The county bought a new HR portal for MacPherson to help manage the responsibilities that were returned to the county.

“There is a learning process, especially when brining in a department that hasn’t been there all along,” Council Chairwoman Tina Cannon said.

Cannon called the changes “improvements” that if done correctly will “make payroll more smooth.”

“What we are attempting to do is bring all payroll under one module” before implementing a new time keeping process that has “a potential for more errors,” Clark said.  “We bought a new time-keeping component six months ago.  It is so complicated, it will be several more months before we can add it.” 

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