Thursday, May 06, 2021

Osborne on South Whitehall: Why No Audit for 10 Years?

Blogger's Note: This entry is thanks to Brad Osborne, a former South Whitehall and Lehigh County Comm'r. 

It 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. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't get this. As the manager of a county-level agency, I ensured that an audit of the agency's books was done by an outside accounting firm each year. Granted, the finances of a township of S. Whitehall's size is more complicated, but if you're keeping records using a program like Quickbooks and using DCED's budget and expense categories, it shouldn't be that difficult to get records to an auditor for review.

Anonymous said...

This issue is appalling!

Isn't a financial audit required by law? If so, how is the state not following up on this after a decade of non-filing, or withholding state funding until an audit is completed?

Even if it isn't required by law, I can't even begin to fathom how annual outside audits haven't been conducted after an embezzlement. They are making it easier for someone to steal from the taxpayers again! Are some members of the Board afraid that more theft of taxpayer dollars will come to light? Are they doing something they don't want to come to light?

At a minimum, the Township Manager and Finance Director should be fired for not performing their duties, and the Board members who have allowed this to continue should be voted out of office.

Separately, where is the Morning Call in reporting this? I don't care how short-staffed they are, if they can't run an article on this after no outside financial audits for a decade, the Call is worthless. This is a story that they've apparently missed for the last 10 years, and is a perfect example of why fewer and fewer people are reading the Call. I hate to think that they're waiting (again) for the FBI to conduct a raid before they write about the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

This is awful. Think of the hourly wage workers struggling everyday to pay their bills and this township handles finances like this.

Anonymous said...

This audit situation is going to come to a head. They will be walking the township manager OUT!! And whomever else covered this up. Someone needs to talk to any employee who has QUIT employment at SWT in the last few years. See "WHY" they chose to run away from this township ! They knew something was wrong and did not want to be involved when some SMART person figures it ALL OUT !! Its coming folks,to a theater near you ! All the money spent on the township building did not need to happen ! Updates, ok, but spend millions of dollars on it, is insane. And township doesnt even support the 3 wonderful volunteer fire stations we have ! No COVID money was given, but was promised to them. SOMETHING IS SOOOOOOO WRONG HERE !!!! We dont need a rocket scientist to figure this out......

Anonymous said...

RTK the salaries and you will find the money

White collar workers earn 3 times what blue collars earn at the township....and there is a shit load of incompetent white collar cronyism going on at the City of Allentown's second city South Whitehall

Chip Chipperson said...

May 6, 2021 at 3:05 PM

just remember, Boyle Construction managed the building renovation....they are also the engineer behind the Park View Motel redevelopment into a crapload of apartments.

Interesting the Manager Renee Bickel wasn't at the Commissioners meeting on Wednesday.

Sadly Morgan will win Re-Election and So will Joe "Morgan" Setton and they will get Bennie "& the Jets" Long to go for the hat trick

Anonymous said...

May 6, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Morning Call Reporter Kayla Dwyer is a known Morgan sympathizer, better reporting happened when it was Kevin Duffy or Sarah Wojcik covering SWT.

Also how much did the township spend rebranding and making the logo a gawd awful covered bridge and adopting the colors of Whitehall Township?

Anonymous said...

As president of the board for the past 10 years, Tori Morgan is singularly responsible for the missing audits during her queenship. God only knows what will be exposed when this information is made public.

Anonymous said...

Where is Ben Long on this issue? He seems to be Queen Morgan’s pet boy, but even still, he should have an opinion on this, no? We need to hear from him!

Anonymous said...

Hold on a minute...didn’t they just spend a bunch of money down at the park for a new playground? And the south whitehall building on Walbert just had millions spent on construction update ...

I want to know WHO approved these big projects with tax dollars if the finances haven’t been figured out yet ???

TEN years ago an employee stole a million dollars and they STILL don’t have it figured out yet? That’s just not good enough.

No way it takes ten years to do an audit. No way.
Why isn’t the state all over this ?

I say it’s way past the time for someone new to take over and get this fixed. Just my two cents.