A recent audit of the Nebraska Supreme Court by state Auditor Mike Foley's office found a need for a number of accounting, documentation and financial corrections.
The audit, released Thursday, covered the 2012 calendar year. Foley said it found deficiencies including:
* Excess expenditures of about $220,000 above the court's 2012 appropriation were covered with funds from fiscal year 2013, contrary to law.
* Vacation or sick leave benefits were not provided to 17 law clerks, even though required for all full-time state employees. The clerks were not required to complete time sheets or certify they worked 40 hours each week.
State Court Administrator Janice Walker said in the past law clerks worked for no more than a year, but that has changed and law clerks stay for longer periods. When state laws changed, the court began paying retirement to the clerks. The vacation and sick leave payments were inadvertently omitted, Walker said, and the court will add those benefits.
* A computer services contract in excess of $665,000 was awarded without documentation of competitive bidding, contrary to good management practices.
Walker said the court has had the computer support contract for at least 20 years with the programmers that designed the statewide automation system. The court reviews and renews the contract every year for the specialized work but does not rebid it.
* More than $3,800 of improper travel expenses were identified, most for employees who lived within 50 miles of their workplace and without documentation as to why the lodging was necessary.
Most of those hotel expenses were for multiple-day judges meetings in Omaha, and allowed the judges and a few court employees to attend without having to drive back and forth every day, Walker said.
* The court failed to do a required annual inventory of all its assets, other than asking court clerks to verify the assets, and the audit found thousands of dollars worth of assets not properly recorded in the state's accounting system. Some could not be located.
Assets include such items as projectors, computers, copiers/printers, flat screen televisions and servers.
Foley said the court fully cooperated with the audit and committed to improving in the areas identified.
The Supreme Court has authority over all courts in the state including the Court of Appeals, the County Court system, the District Court system and the state probation system.
It is responsible for regulating the practice of law including admission to practice and discipline of lawyers. It is also responsible for general fund dollars directed to the judicial branch of government.