MOUNT CARMEL — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen was presented a clean audit for the 2018-19 fiscal year last week with zero negative findings, an accomplishment the auditor attributed to city staff, particularly Tammy Conner.
Conner, who has been the town’s certified municipal financial officer for more than two decades, announced earlier this year she is retiring at the end of December.
“You folks are running out of time to convince her (Conner) otherwise, just so you know,” auditor Mickey Ellis told the BMA at last Thursday’s meeting.
In summarizing the 2018-19 fiscal year, Ellis said the city had net assets in the amount of approximately $13.5 million, the fund balance increased by approximately $500,000, and the sewer fund ended with a surplus of approximately $170,000.
“It’s a really good audit report,” Ellis added.
”We have no findings this year”
“As part of the analysis and proving of all the numbers that you see in that (audit report) booklet, we also have a look at what’s called internal control processes and procedures,” Ellis told the BMA at its Aug. 27 meeting. “We look to see how you handle your finances. Who’s doing what. Are the internal control processes solid? If you say that you’re doing them, we test to make sure that you are doing them. If you’re not, then at then end of that book we call it out in what’s called the ‘findings.’ ”
Ellis added, “I’m very happy to say that we have no findings this year because Tammy and (City Manager) Mike (Housewright) do an outstanding job. You’re really fortunate in that regard.”
Mayor Jennifer Williams praised Housewright and Conner for their hard work overseeing city finances.
Housewright also thanks Conner
“To have a clean audit report, to have the type of audit we received today, that is entirely Tammy’s doing,” Housewright said. “The clean, unqualified audit is a direct reflection of Tammy’s work, and she certainly should be congratulated on that.”
“I’m still retiring,” Conner said from the audience.
Vice Mayor Pat Stilwell noted that department heads deserve credit as well.
“We have some good city managers who stay within their budget,” Stilwell said. “We give out credit to them too. Without them staying in their budget, we’d be back to where we were before.”
Stilwell was referring to audit reports that the city received for the final two fiscal years during the administration of former Mayor Larry Frost (2012-16).
Seven negative findings in two past audits
There were six negative findings in the 2014-15 fiscal year audit and one more negative finding in 2015-16 — all of which resulted in an investigation by the state comptroller’s office.
The biggest finding from the 2014-15 fiscal year audit was Frost adding $35,000 to the cost of annual paving above the previously approved amount for the project without advertising for additional bids.
The lone negative finding from the 2015-16 fiscal year audit involved Frost authorizing paving in excess of the approved bid amount by $16,927.
No criminal charges resulted from the comptroller’s investigation.
Upon reviewing that investigation in 2017, Attorney General Dan Armstrong said, “While there certainly were questionable purchases, I don’t see anything that is to the level of criminal activity, so at this point I don’t anticipate that there would be any charges filed. Certainly unwise, and I guess you could characterize some of it as being unauthorized, but none of it that was unauthorized could be tied to personal benefit.”
Frost was defeated in the 2016 mayoral election and Mount Carmel subsequently received no negative findings in the 2016-17 or the 2017-18 audits.