Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day...

So we have established that the revenue reports are computer-generated and the Town of New Hartford does not have a computer guru on board who programs one-time only reports. In fact, the "Statement of Actual and Estimated Revenues" report can be run at any time by someone who has access to the computer in the Finance Office.

We have also established the fact that “the report” is not devoid of numbers as Pat stated to the town board it would be during the discussion of Ms. Lawrence’s FOIL appeal. So obviously, the report contained information that someone must have thought necessary to enter into the computer.

So why did Ms. Lawrence FOIL the report…what was she looking for?

The last time the board was given a copy of the "revenue report" was September 2010; up until and including that month, the board received an expense-to-date report as well as the revenue-to-date report; each comparing budget to actual. That is exactly what a town board member who does not have regular access to the computer in the Finance Office needs to stay on top of the town’s finances.

Even Earle Reed knew the importance of this reporting; here is an excerpt from a memo he sent to the finance department May 29, 2008:
As per page 33 of Information for Town Officials, “Other reports could also be submitted monthly, such as comparisons of budget estimates with actual transactions, an analysis of investment activity, or a capital project status report.” I am requesting that each of these reports be prepared on a monthly basis and presented to the Town Board for their review. For example, a year-to-date Statement of Revenues and Expenditures should be prepared at the end of each month showing Budget vs. Actual amounts illustrating the amounts over and/or under budget.

This is a service that must be performed in conjunction with the CPA Firm on a monthly basis and will assist the CPA Firm in identifying any weaknesses in the system of internal control and in the reporting and record keeping process. This will also assist with the annual budget process and with the audit of the financial statements.
Mr. Reed ended his email by saying:
If this cannot be accomplished immediately, other actions will be required to be taken to allow these changes to be implemented in a timely and efficient manner in conjunction with the CPA Firm. It is in the Town's best interest that we comply with all of these rules and regulations immediately. I thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.
We all know the CPA Firm that Earle Reed refers to in his email.

At least three members of the Town Council were on the town board in May 2008 and were copied on this memo; and one of the three is a CPA. So, after not receiving the revenue reports for a year why didn’t anyone on the town board ask why they were no longer included as part of their monthly financial information?

Remember earlier this year when we blogged "Time to Pay the Piper?" regarding the stack of invoices on the board table awaiting approval for payment and some were actually from September 2010? Is it a coincidence that September 2010 is exactly the same time that the town board stopped receiving the revenue reports and only received the expense reports, half of the financial picture, each month?

To be continued…

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