FingerLakes1.com Forums
Topic Options
#1519173 --- 08/22/18 05:04 PM Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
http://www.fltimes.com/news/auditors-fin...1a324e92b7.html

Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances

By DAVID L. SHAW dshaw@fltimes.com 1 hr ago

WATERLOO — Using accounts payable as a “dumping ground,” a lack of accounts being reconciled and poor accountability for grant money are some of the “discrepancies” auditors from Bonadio Co. have found so far in an audit of Seneca County general fund finances for 2017 and 2018.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard a verbal report from Randy Shepard and Ken Pink of Bonadio, hired for the audit.

They promised to keep in close contact with Finance Offcer Michael Reynolds, R-Covert, and the full board as the audit work continues and more discrepancies are uncovered and dealt with. A written report will be produced when the audit is done.

“This report will not be favorable,” predicted outgoing County Manager John Sheppard, whose last day will be Sept. 4.

Randy Shepard said when he began looking at the financial records in mid-June, County Finance Director Brandi Deeds had resigned.

“I found discrepancies and we’ve worked to reconcile them. There were issues with accounts payable and the grant money received by the county was not being reconciled back to January 2017,” he said. He said state and federal governments require such reconciliation.

The months of January and February 2017 have been reconciled and auditors are moving forward month by month, working with the Finance Department staff.

“It’s unfortunate, but I’ve done this before. We’re looking at a deadline of Sept. 30 to get much of this done. We may not meet it and I can’t promise we will, but we will try. The county may lose funding if it files too late,” Shepard said.

“We’re also looking for malfeasance and red flags. We haven’t identified any yet, but we will keep looking,” Shepard said. Pink said auditors have removed opportunities for malfeasance and believe the risk of finding it are greatly reduced.

Reynolds asked how much past the Sept. 30 deadline the work may take.

“We will put the resources here to meet the deadline. It’s hard to say when we’ll be done after we get the information assembled. The audit team will work to reconcile these accounts, training your staff at the same time,” Shepard said.

“What do you need to reconcile? Cash accounts? Accounts payable?,” asked Lisa Hochadel, D-Waterloo, a finance committee member.

“All accounts. We want go make sure all expenditures are properly recorded in accounts where they should be,” Shepard said.

Supervisor Cindy Lorenzetti, D-Fayette, said when the 2017 and 2018 discrepancies were found, she asked Shepard why the attorney general or state comptroller were not notified. Shepard said the process calls for them to notify the county manager of the problems first. “If there is evidence of fraud or malfeasance, then we would go higher up,” he said.

Lorenzetti asked if the county would be fined for not filing the audit by Sept. 30. Shepard said no, but said state and federal governments could withhold funds for not meeting guidelines. She also asked how the county was paying for the additional audit work being done by Bonadio.

Sheppard said about $60,000 was budgeted for the audit, but there is more funding available in the finance department budget because of unfilled vacancies.

“What has happened since the end of 2016 to cause this chaos?,” asked board chairman Bob Shipley, R-Waterloo.

Shepard said procedures the county has been using were outdated and ineffective, with little internal controls in place. “But were they adequate in 2016?” Shipley asked.

Shepard said Bonadio had a baseline of data for 2016 to do an audit, but did not look beneath those numbers. He said they are looking beneath the basic data for 2017 and 2018.

Shepard said information for the 2016 audit was reliable “even if it is ineffcient.” “But why did we do okay in 2016? What changed for 2017?” Lorenzetti asked.
She did not get an answer. Hochadel said Bonadio should work with the board to make changes “so this doesn’t happen again.”

In other action, the board went into executive session to discuss the “medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, dismissal, suspension or removal of a particular person or corporation.”

Sheppard’s resignation was the topic. The board met alone for about 35 minutes and then called in Personnel Director Kathy Corona, County Attorney Frank Fisher and Assistant County Attorney Christopher Folk. That closed-door session lasted another 23 minutes.

The board adjourned without taking any action, but Shipley said an interim county manager may be announced at a special board meeting Tuesday.

Board members Greg Lazzaro and Lee Davidson were absent.
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
FingerLakes1.com
#1519189 --- 08/23/18 08:12 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
Interesting, there have been no comments on the report from the county's CPA firm, that the county books were screwed up after the former County Treasurer retired in December 2016. That:

accounts payable was used as a “dumping ground,”
a lack of accounts being reconciled
poor accountability for grant money and
it is going to cost the county taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to clean up the mess

And that neither the CPA firm or the County Manager answered the question from Chairman Shipley:

“What has happened since the end of 2016 to cause this chaos?”

In fact, a couple of BOS members objected to have the question answered in open session.

Hmmm, what could the answer be???
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519190 --- 08/23/18 08:31 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 1936
Loc: LOST IN SPACE
What does this mean ?
Shepard said Bonadio had a baseline of data for 2016 to do an audit, but did not look beneath those numbers. He said they are looking beneath the basic data for 2017 and 2018.

How come no answer to Shipley's question ?

Shepard said procedures the county has been using were outdated and ineffective, with little internal controls in place. “But were they adequate in 2016?” Shipley asked.

Why don't you just wait for the report before deciding someone is guilty of something !


Edited by scwoodchuck (08/23/18 08:39 PM)
_________________________
I can't wait till humans evolve into an intelligent species.

Top
#1519191 --- 08/23/18 08:36 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
because the records for 2017 made no sense....and they haven't gotten to water and sewer or the bonds.

Originally Posted By: scwoodchuck
What does this mean ?
Shepard said Bonadio had a baseline of data for 2016 to do an audit, but did not look beneath those numbers. He said they are looking beneath the basic data for 2017 and 2018.
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519192 --- 08/23/18 08:45 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 1936
Loc: LOST IN SPACE
Something made sense to somebody or he wouldn't have made this statement.

The months of January and February 2017 have been reconciled and auditors are moving forward month by month, working with the Finance Department staff.
_________________________
I can't wait till humans evolve into an intelligent species.

Top
#1519193 --- 08/23/18 09:20 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
I guess you needed to be at the meeting.

Randy Shepard from Bonadio said that Bonadio had reconciled the accounts payable for January and February 2017, and was going to be working through ALL the accounts for 2017 and 2018 YTD.

You seem to be getting the guy who knows what he is doing, with John Sheppard.


Originally Posted By: scwoodchuck
Something made sense to somebody or he wouldn't have made this statement.

The months of January and February 2017 have been reconciled and auditors are moving forward month by month, working with the Finance Department staff.
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519194 --- 08/24/18 06:17 AM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
Hello_Governer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/03/11
Posts: 1632
Loc: New York, Seneca
As is the case with most articles written by David Shaw, you needed to be at the meeting. The man is a master of leaving out just enough detail to sway public opinion.
_________________________
Do we really have to make everything IDIOT PROOF ?

Top
#1519199 --- 08/24/18 08:49 AM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: Hello_Governer]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
Were you at the meeting? What detail was left out?


Originally Posted By: Hello_Governer
As is the case with most articles written by David Shaw, you needed to be at the meeting. The man is a master of leaving out just enough detail to sway public opinion.
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519200 --- 08/24/18 09:35 AM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
Hello_Governer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/03/11
Posts: 1632
Loc: New York, Seneca
Why did you make this statement ?
Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
I guess you needed to be at the meeting.
_________________________
Do we really have to make everything IDIOT PROOF ?

Top
#1519201 --- 08/24/18 09:49 AM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: Hello_Governer]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
It was in response to SC Woodchuck.

Originally Posted By: Hello_Governer
Why did you make this statement ?
Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
I guess you needed to be at the meeting.
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519202 --- 08/24/18 11:10 AM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
Timbo Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 14295
Loc: CNY
Originally Posted By: Hello_Governer
As is the case with most articles written by David Shaw, you needed to be at the meeting. The man is a master of leaving out just enough detail to sway public opinion.

1) Shaw is a reporter for a newspaper with limited available column space. Not a stenographer transcriptionist for a criminal proceeding.

2) Anybody who's actually familiar Mr Shaw knows that if he the had the opportunity he'd include every word spoken at such an event.

3) As such, his job requires that he make critical editorial decisions that necessitate the omission of certain minutes of the meeting. Based on your interpretation of what constitutes legitimate journalistic reporting, I'd say that Mr Shaw is in no danger of being replaced at his job by the likes of you and your own self-evident biases.

4) Which leaves you with two options... attend a meeting to your own satisfaction of it's complete happenings, or actually make an effort to write a letter to the editor.

Right?
_________________________
Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Top
#1519204 --- 08/24/18 12:43 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: Timbo]
scwoodchuck Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 1936
Loc: LOST IN SPACE
Bimbo obviously thinks he's intellectually superior and he has again proven otherwise. VIDEO, BIMBO ever heard of that ?
_________________________
I can't wait till humans evolve into an intelligent species.

Top
#1519205 --- 08/24/18 12:45 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 1936
Loc: LOST IN SPACE
Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
It was in response to SC Woodchuck.

Originally Posted By: Hello_Governer
Why did you make this statement ?
Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
I guess you needed to be at the meeting.
crazy
_________________________
I can't wait till humans evolve into an intelligent species.

Top
#1519219 --- 08/28/18 07:20 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: Timbo]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
At the Board meeting tonight there were some comments on the fiscal "irregularities:"

Nick Sciotti has agreed to work with the Finance Department for a couple of days a week. I think this came as a surprise to the out going county manager.

Two employees in the Finance Department were lauded by the HR Director for their efforts to straighten out the mess. Kathy also announced that they had earned 230 hours of overtime or about 1 month additional pay. EACH.

Looks like we paid them to help create the mess, and time and a half to fix it.

Hmmmm.


Edited by all seeing eye (08/28/18 07:36 PM)
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top
#1519220 --- 08/28/18 07:30 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
Shotgun Willie Offline
Member

Registered: 03/24/01
Posts: 497
Loc: Luckenback, TX
Ol' Nick is one of the few good uns who ever worked there

Top
#1519557 --- 09/13/18 10:29 PM Re: Auditors find issues with Seneca County finances [Re: all seeing eye]
all seeing eye Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2230
Loc: Seneca Lake
Auditors: Progress made, but Seneca County finances still problematic

By DAVID L. SHAW dshaw@fltimes.com

WATERLOO — Randy Shepard from the Bonadio Group gave a sobering update to the Seneca County Board of Supervisors Tuesday on the company’s efforts at correcting significant discrepancies unearthed in its audit of 2017 county finances.

In August, Shepard and another auditor reported the initial discrepancies and outlined plans to continue looking to see whether there are more problems before developing a plan to make corrections.

Shepard said bank reconciliations for the general operating fund were done through May and auditors are starting to work on June forward. He said a decision was made to reconcile trust and agency accounts back to January 2017.

For grant reconciliations, Shepard said they have completed the sheriff’s office, emergency management services, mental health, Office for the Aging, workforce development, public defender, weatherization program and county airport.

He said the airport had $91,000 in unvouchered services in 2017, with $268,000 in general fund vouchers being submitted late and several reclassifications and corrections required.

He said auditors are researching unsupported general ledger activities posted during 2017 for the Department of Social Services. “We are cleaning up the record keeping and lack of documentation for DSS and EMS journal entries,” Shepard said.

For the rest of September, he said, two auditors will be working on correcting the findings. “I’m not sure we’ll meet the Sept. 30 deadline, but we’re trying not to pay a financial penalty by reaching out to who we need to explain the situation.”

He said the county should consider resubmission of the county’s annual update document for 2017, begin the 2019 budget process, appoint someone for check signing and purchasing duties and develop a plan to audit financials from Jan. 1, 2018, to the present.

Several board members grumbled about the work done by the Finance Department that led to the poor audit.

“We’re finding more problems as we go, but we’ve got a handle on things now. We’ll get you up to snuff,” Shepard promised. ‘”We’ll get you through this.”
_________________________
Only fools are positive.
Moe Howard

Top