“A Showboater”? Hardly! Wood-TV8 Calls me “a One Man Watchdog” Dedicated To Protecting Citizens’ Interests.
I sharply differ with Tom Korth’s views, as expressed in the Cadence paper and on MLive on July 13th, that stated the kinds of bookkeeping errors facing Ada Township are “common” and “Material Weaknesses in Internal Controls,” reported by Ada’s auditors, are “inconsequential.” I am offended that Trustee Bob Proos classifies my attempt to make the facts known as “showboating” and “hiring a TV studio.”
The Facts Concerning Ada Township Audit Failures that I’ve shared, are neither common, nor insignificant. They violate the Policies and Procedures established by Ada Township’s Board. Material Weaknesses relating to bank reconciliation are, in fact, rare. My research, which I welcome the Press and Citizens to verify, indicates Ada Township is the only Township in Kent County that “can’t reconcile its checkbook,” a basic bookkeeping task. An auditor who specializes in Townships told me: “this repeat finding and Material Weaknesses relating to Bank Reconciliation are extremely rare.”
The Michigan Department of Treasury has a database of all Township Audits ( http://bit.ly/Treasury-Audit-Reports ). Anyone can view them. Material Weaknesses related to a failure to follow policies and procedures were noted in Ada’s 2010 and 2011 audits. The 2011 audit states:
“Policies and procedures over monthly bank reconciliations were not effective because necessary adjustments to the corresponding general ledger cash accounts were not identified and recorded. This is a repeat finding.” (Emphasis added)
“…assuming the preliminary findings make it to the final report, material weaknesses are significant. As a matter of fact, they are more significant than “significant”… This type of finding is not found in most local units… and should be corrected very soon by local unit officials.” - Cary Jay Vaughn, CPA, Audit Manager, Audit Section Michigan Department of Treasury
This directly refutes claims made by Tom Korth, Trustee Proos, Clerk Burton, Supervisor Haga, Trustee Smith and others, who have said: “these issues are common” or “bookkeeping errors…simple as that.” The current treasurer, an engineer, is on record as saying: “I’m not a CPA…I’m still learning my job….” (http://bit.ly/Ada-Treasurer-Candidates-2012)
Ada’s previous auditors identified the same Material Weaknesses. Phillip W. Saurman, CPA, of Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter, PC, said:
“When we were doing the audits for Ada, we identified these same types of Material Weaknesses. It was our continued insistence that these problems be fixed, and the extra audit time and dollars that these problems caused, that may have hastened our departure as the Township’s auditors.”
Potentially more troubling is the removal of the 2010 and 2011 audit reports from the Township Website, between July 9th & July 24th, when they reappeared. Those who follow Ada politics will remember our prior Master Municipal Clerk, Deb Millhuff, being voted out of office after being accused of altering documents. Why were these reports taken down, especially at a time when Ada Citizens are interested in learning the truth?
Ada’s Clerk and Treasurer have a responsibility to the taxpayers to follow, without exception, established accounting policies, procedures and best practices. The following list of Material Weaknesses identified by the auditors shows the extent of Ada’s accounting problems:
- $307,000 of unreconciled transactions
- 2 separate Bond Accounts not recorded properly in the General Ledger
- $80,000 check discrepancy (Actual vs. Recorded)
- $75,000 Cash Transfer not recorded
- $180,000 worth of Payable Items not recorded properly
- Other mishandled transactions and reconciliation failures
Ada does not need an outside accountant to help these officials do their jobs, as Tom Korth and others have suggested. What we need to do is make sure those we elect to office, are qualified to do the jobs the taxpayers have entrusted to them, as the public servants of ALL Ada’s Citizens!