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Funeral board violated meetings laws

The N.C. Board of Funeral Service didn't keep minutes of its closed sessions, as required by state law.

The State Auditor's office, acting on a tip, reviewed five years of board minutes and found that typed minutes were not kept for closed sessions, in violation of the state's open meetings law. The board regulates the funeral business.

Executive Director Paul Harris told auditors that he was aware that typed minutes were required to be kept for closed meetings. The current and previous three secretaries took notes of closed sessions, but those notes had never been turned into minutes and could not be located, according to the auditor's office.

Board President Larry Andrews promised to create minutes for future meetings and to keep notes taken during those meetings in a special file.

funeral report.pdf

Forgot to carry the one million

When you flub your checkbook, the mistake is probably worth a few bucks.

When the state treasurer botches the books, it can mean $141 million.

State Auditor Les Merritt released a report Tuesday that was part of a larger look at state finances. It showed that financial statements prepared by Treasurer Richard Moore's office contained a few bookkeeping errors. Moore is a Democratic candidate for governor.

The errors found in a routine audit included an understatement of $141 million, an overstatement of $80 million and misclassification of millions more.

No money is missing and the errors appear to be just that — bookkeeping mistakes. In a response to the auditor's findings, Moore's office wrote that the mistakes were minor and the milliions were a tiny fraction of the total funds Moore's office handles. Moore's office has already improved its processes, according to the report.

"We strive for total accuracy in all aspects of our agency's functions," according to the response from Moore's office.

Perdue: We've taken action

Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue's office released a statement on the auditor's report:

"This office has endeavored to maintain an appropriate division between state-related business and campaign activity. We appreciate the recommendations and insights of the Auditor's office. We have taken action to respond to the concerns that were raised and will continue to do our best to maintain an appropriate division of activity."

The statement came from Perdue's chief of staff, Don Hobart.

Auditor: Moore, Perdue used state resources

The state auditor says state Treasurer Richard Moore and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue campaigned for governor using state resources on state time.

The reports from auditor Les Merritt's office came after several months of investigation, sparked by complaints from each candidate's opponent.

"I recognize that these allegations may be a political football, but as the independent State Auditor I have a statutory obligation to review any allegation of misconduct without respect to its motivation," Merritt said in a statement.

He said the investigation found that both campaigns used state computers and Internet connections "above a reasonable personal use" for their campaigns.

Auditors found that Perdue installed a separate Internet server and told staffers to use their personal computers during their lunch break for campaign work, but Merritt said she did not have adequate controls to ensure they did not.

They also found that a Moore staffer used her father-in-law's e-mail account to make public records requests about Perdue, while other staffers looked at political Web sites online and circulated campaign documents on work e-mails.

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