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The purpose of this bulletin is to provide commanders with information and suggestions based on the Agency's audits of open messes which may assist them in reviewing, supervising, and controlling the operations of the Army open messes under their jurisdiction.
At the request of the Secretary of the Army, the U. S. Army Audit Agency (USAAA) conducted an Armywide study of alternate means of auditing Army open messes. As a part of this study, detailed audits were made of 32 open messes during the period from 1 October 1969 to 28 February 1970. A Summary Report on the results of these audits was issued in April 1970. These audits disclosed numerous deficiencies and irregularities and confirmed previous reports that there was a considerable degree of mismanagement in Army open mess operations,
b. The USAAA made 30 additional audits during the period from 15 August 1970 to 19 March 1971. These audits showed that irregularities and deficiencies are continuing to occur in open mess operations. In a number of instances, diversions of cash or property, mismanagement and other irregularities were serious enough to require commanders to submit BLUE BELL reports to the Department of the Army under the provisions of AR 1-55. Both the original audits and the more recent audits showed that the deficiencies disclosed stemmed primarily from a lack of effective internal controls and the absence of close command supervision and surveillance of open mess operations. It became apparent that unless actions are taken by commanders to improve open mess operations, the increased audit efforts will do little more than continue to expose Army weaknesses in this area.
USAAA (B) 320-1
c. This bulletin is based on information obtained during audits which had been completed or were in process as of 19 March 1971. It provides commanders information and suggestions that will help them detect and correct significant deficiencies, irregularities or mismanage ment which may exist in the operations of the open messes under their jurisdiction. In addition to preventing or correcting adverse conditions, use of this bulletin by commanders can have highly beneficial positive effects. This may be best illustrated by the following comment made by a commander: "On the basis of information brought to my attention during the USAAA audit, new personnel were assigned to the open mess, internal controls were strengthened, and command supervision was intensified in all areas. As a result, the net loss of $2,319 in September 1970 was converted into a net profit of $1,990 in October 1970."
The succeeding paragraphs present the "Lessons Learned" from the USAAA's audits which are considered most important in assisting commanders in their efforts to insure proper open mess operations.
(1) The USAAA audits disclosed that commanders and their staffs needed to exercise closer supervision and control over open mess operations. This was evidenced by the existence of numerous, long standing unsatisfactory conditions which would have been detected and corrected if the open messes had been closely supervised. At a number of installations these adverse conditions eventually resulted in the submission of BLUE BELL reports. In addition, some open messes almost became insolvent.
(2) The supervisory responsibilities of the installation commander are set forth in paragraph 2-11 of AR 230-60. Some of these responsibilities are:
(a) Ascertain that the open mess is being properly administered and its funds safeguarded.
Ascertain that all income has been received in full and properly
83-066 0–72—No. 696