Why was the release of the city’s audit delayed until August when it was due in March or April?
No, the Coronavirus was not the problem, because the audit had already been prepared before the Coronavirus, or the statement on page 9 under Economic Factors and Next Year’s Budget and Rates, would not have read “The economic condition and outlook of the city has remained quite stable.”
So, why was the city’s 2019 audit delayed until the middle of August? Why is the city’s audit no longer discussed when it is presented to the city council?
Starting a couple of years ago, about the time that the city changed auditing firms, the previous practice of the auditing firm presenting the audit to the city council, and answering city council, management and citizen questions about the audit ended. Today, there are no questions permitted, no discussion, no explanation of the audit only a vote to acknowledge receipt of the audit. This avoids questions to the auditors like:
“Does the city keep the transportation fund and charges to it in segregated accounts as required by state law?”
“What happens to the fountain money today?”
Previous auditors have expressed concern about the city’s pensions and other post-employment benefits, but in this audit, the auditors have exempted themselves of any responsibility on this matter with the following comment on page 2: “We do not express an opinion or provide any assurances on the information because the limited procedures do not provide us with sufficient evidence to express an opinion or provide any assurances.”
It also avoids the question as to what it would cost or be required, to give us those assurances? Of what good is an audit that is based on the information provided with validation of the information supplied? The big question that remains is, what was wrong with the financial numbers that caused the issuing of the audit to be delayed for 4 months, and how or were they corrected. The city does not need an unaudited audit so why bother to spend the money. If the auditors won’t guarantee their results then those results are worthless.