An independent audit of the City of Brentwood suggests new procedures should be implemented for how the city manages and safeguards its finances.
hired accounting firm Hochschild, Bloom and Company to examine the city's books last year. In addition to an 84-page report that examined financial statements in 2010, the firm also presented a list of recommendations to improve internal accounting controls.
The recommendations were presented to the city in a letter dated June 29 and made available to Maplewood-Brentwood Patch on Sept. 6, more than five weeks after requesting a copy of the document. The city sent Patch a list of responses to each recommendation when it released the internal controls document.
"The city recognizes that constant improvement is essential to being an effective and responsive instrument for the people we serve," stated city administrator Bola Akande in the response. That's why the city plans to hire a , she stated.
In an interview with Patch, Akande noted that the the firm wasn't hired to complete a forensic audit, which would focusing on specific city systems (such as credit cards or vendor contracts). Instead, this audit examined small samples from the various city systems.
This audit didn't catch 's misuse of his city credit card, for example.
It's still important for the city to periodically review its policies to look for improvements, Akande said. Some policies have already been implemented, such as new procedures for establishing the and .
A list of suggested changes from the accounting firm, and the city's response to each item, is attached as a PDF to this article. Here's a sampling:
- The city lacks "documented internal control procedures" for wire transfers. The city should establish procedures and require approval from at least two employees before transfers are authorized.
- The city fails to document business purposes on credit card receipts.
- Payroll timesheets for city employees aren't being submitted in a timely fashion.