Friday, September 24, 2010

PLAINFIELD FINANCIAL CONTROLS

"The City has a purchasing division which is responsible for all the purchasing needs of the various divisions, including obtaining prices, bids, quotes,awarding contracts, etc We noted that numerous purchases were made directly by various division heads and not through the Division of Purchasing as required by the City's Administrative code. As a result funds are not encumbered against amounts appropriated before goods or services are ordered and purchases are made without any certification of availability of funds obtained from the Comptroller. In effect the controls that minimize the possibility of over-expenditures and unauthorized purchases are not in operation. In addition the encumbrance accounting system required by the Division of Local Government cannot be adequately maintained."
(boldface mine)

This quote from the Auditor's report on the 2009 Audit and an almost word for word one in the 2007 and 2008 Audit reports plus a recommendation each year that these deficiencies be corrected is one more manifestation that the absence of a Director of Administration and Finances, or a qualified CFO or Comptroller opens the City's funds to misuse and even embezzlement. It is true that none is reported by the City's Auditor's, however it must be remembered that there is always the possibility of ambiguity in reports issued by any firm who has a repeated yearly contract. One more reason why a forensic audit of at least 2008 & 2009 FY should be authorized by the Council.

The responsibility for non correction of the same annual defects rests with the City Administrator who was in those years Dashields. The 2010 FY audit report has not been released yet, and for the last 5 months of that FY Bibi Taylor has been City Administrator and before that she was Director of Administration and Finances. It is hope that this unacceptable state of affairs has been corrected although the key official position, the CFO remains unfilled with no indication that the Mayor has any desire to fill it.

Other repetitive failures relate to "Grants"; ' There exists numerous grants receivable and appropriate grant reserve from previous years which should be reviewed and cleared of record. There are numerous inactive accounts in the grant appropriation ledger which should be cancelled of record" (2009). Similar although not as verbose remarks appear in the 2007 and 2008 audit."

"We are unable to trace monthly receipts from the various City departments to the records in the Finance Office."

"Numerous duplicate bank accounts remain open. Many of these accounts are inactive. Additionally, excessive bank transfers were noted between bank accounts" This could make tracing funds difficult.

Each year every Councilor has to sign a certificate that they have received and read it. Even if some can not understand the numbers all can read the comments and recommendations. Yet the same unacceptable practices continue uncorrected. Should it not be the Council's fiduciary responsibility to demand and/or take action to have these and the many more others that I have not quoted corrected. We as "stakeholders" (taxpayers) should demand an investigation into the possibilities of irregularities in money management.

We owe Maria Pellum a debt of gratitude for obtaining the 2007,2008, & 2009 Audits.

7 comments:

  1. All of these failures are also listed int eh previous administration's audits.

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  2. As we have seen, any effort to promote fiscal responsibility and accountability is going to be met with shout of defiance by many levels of the present administration and her supporters in the community and on the city council.
    People such as myself and bloggers who point out how irresponsible this is and the problem we are most certainly going to have are noted as negative and naysayers or worse yet, being labled "blinded by your hate" for the Mayor such as Councilor Burney lobbed back at me when I called his vote foolish against the recent "veto issue".
    When the sh*t hits the fan these will be the same group of people wailing, beating their chests and flailing their arms moaning "WHY ? WHY ? WHY ???" .
    So be it. Jerry Green and Sharon Robinson Briggs' Gang Of Four have gotten what they wanted. Unencumbered fiscal smoke and mirrors. Let em have it.
    As much as I appreciate the hard work Mapp, McWilliams and Storch have done, I believe it's time to throw decorum to the roadside and start calling these people out at the meetings and labeling them as the obstructionist they are. They don't respond to polite political gestures and maneuvers like a normal person would. They respond to the 2 people pulling their strings.
    I also believe a call to the Governor's office will have much more pull coming from Mapp, Storch and McWilliams and I wish they would make that call for us, the citizens of Plainfield. I believe only the state will be able to put Plainfield back in the right direction.
    And I agree...Thank you Maria..

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  3. Great points and YES we need a state audit. I do wonder how much money this mayor and others have walked away with and how the City Council could allow this to go on. Why does the state not make this poor excuse for a mayor get the financial team we need in place. If the City Council doesn't do something soon, then the citizens of Plainfield should have a fit. I'm one of them.

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  4. 10:14 AM,There is always such a possibility.If more than werrors are found than the previous years should also be examined

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  5. Does anyone know what the next actionable step is? We can educate and motivate residents, pass petitions, and get the attention of state officials. Let's develop a plan and take action, now! It's clear the residents need to become involved. I'd be glad to help.

    Wil Gipp

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  6. The whole city Ccouncil is incompetent. Storch has been on there for over 9 years and what has he done? Whine? Where does that get us?

    We need action. Not whining and not passing the buck.

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  7. 9:27:6:43PM,You are focusing without justification on one person who probably represents a group that you do not agree with for political reasons. This Council at least deliberates, unlike the ruber stamp Councils of sev eral years ago. Unfortunately they do not always take the action that I know is the correct one.

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