Trustees still seek answers to financial questions

Mar. 10, 2014  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

 

“The township drug forfeiture fund balance went from $146,000 in 2011 to $1.2 million in 2012”

 

Concerned trustees in Plymouth Township believe board officials are deliberately overlooking negative audit findings uncovered last year by the audit firm, Plante Moran.

Last year Plymouth Township officials were cited by the outside auditors for problems with deficiencies in bank reconciliations and the handling of drug forfeiture funds. The auditors described the township procedures as weak, highlighted a discrepancy of $37,606 and cited perceived problems with the bank reconciliation process.

The audit, commonly referred to as a “single audit,” is normally not part of the government-filing requirement, but was required because the township exceeded a $500,000 threshold for expenses in the previous year, 2012. The official schedule of expenditures of federal awards report township expenses of $689,272 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2012.

After conducting a required financial audit mandated by the Federal Office of Management and Budget in December 2012, Plante Moran reported the deficiencies and described the township record keeping procedures as “materially weak.”

Material weakness is described by auditors as a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies in internal control, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the township financial standing will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis.

With state and federal regulations governing the application for municipal funds come various rules about procedure, dates and accuracy. Among the various protocols are norms for banking procedures and account reconciliation. The rules are outlined in the US Office of Management and Budget Circular A-133.

At a public board meeting last July, the auditors reiterated their 2012 findings categorized as Financial Statement Audit Findings. “The general checking bank reconciliation for December 2012 was prepared timely but continued to have an un-reconciled difference in June 2013. In addition there is no documented indication that bank reconciliations are being reviewed,” the report said.

Plymouth Township Trustee Bob Doroshewitz
Plymouth Township Trustee Bob Doroshewitz

“We recommend that the Township implement the proper internal controls and segregation of duties to ensure that bank reconciliations are reconciled timely, reviewed timely, and that reviews are documented for bank reconciliations,” the report continued. Township Trustee Bob Doroshewitz had publicly expressed concern for greater transparency and inquired about the identity and number of township depositories. Township Clerk Nancy Conzelman suggested that she could, upon request, hold one-on-one private monthly reviews with individual trustees and discuss bank funds. Doroshewitz objected saying he felt the information should be openly shared on a regular basis with all trustees, preferably at monthly board meetings.

Trustees say that the financial information they requested has not been forthcoming and that they have not been informed of any corrective action taken in the clerk’s office as recommended by the auditors.

The auditors reported that beginning in 2012 the township began receiving more significant amounts of federal awards through the Federal Equitable Sharing program.

The township drug forfeiture fund balance went from $146,000 in 2011 to $1.2 million in 2012.

Plante Moran stated, “As these circumstances changed, the township did not institute a system to prevent noncompliance or detect and correct noncompliance…”

“We recommend that the Township identify an individual with appropriate federal program skills to oversee compliance with the Federal Equitable Sharing programs…and provide ongoing training for this individual…alternatively, the township could select someone more familiar with the police department operations…”

|News Plymouth Michigan

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