Blogger's Note: This entry is thanks to Brad Osborne, a former South Whitehall and Lehigh County Comm'r.
was learned earlier this year that South Whitehall has not completed
a financial audit for 10 years. Township officials blame this lapse
on a decade old embezzlement, software issues and employee turnover.
Public trust has been eroded. In addition, taxpayers are paying thousands of dollars more each month on a fixed General Obligation Note of 3.5% on the $9M building renovation. A much lower bond market rate would have been possible if these audits were completed.
Today’s Candidate Question: It is a PA statutory requirement that financial audits be completed annually; however, South Whitehall has not completed an audit for the last 10 years. What would you do to ensure audits are completed on schedule every year?
Christina “Tori” Morgan (R): No response.
Joe Setton (D): No response.
David Kennedy (R): I would hold all responsible employees accountable, so that it is completed in a timely manner, along with the auditors; these are the requirements. If they are unable to do the job correctly and on time, they should not be in these positions. This would-be part of their “job description.” Do your job or find employment elsewhere.
Monica Hodges (R): I would make it the #1 priority of the Township Finance Director and our accounting firm, and if they cannot complete them by the end of the year, I would propose hiring professionals who will get it done. No money should be spent on new projects until the audits are complete.
Thomas J. Johns (D): Although the Township did engage services of a forensic accounting firm following the prosecution of embezzlement in 2013, in appears from this question and a recent newspaper article that the audit has not been completed to date. To ensure audits are completed in a timely manner, I would review procedures to formulate checks and balances to meet deadlines. Externally, the accounting form that is responsible for completing the audit should detail exactly what data they need and when they need it to assure that the audit will be finished in compliance with the statutory requirements. Internally, the director of finance in conjunction with the township manager should be provided critical data prior to the scheduled audit.