Powell interviewed “Auditors are not supposed to find errors but give the Town the appropriate mechanisms.P

When  Richard C. Powell was interviewed by the Committee, one of the items Ms. Rivers brought up was the almost $93,000 that was missed in the Audit for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year end.
Please read the following notes and the letter which Mr. Powell wrote at that time, which you will note below.  He took no blame for not uncovering the amount and indicated that it is not up to the Audits to find errors and that Small Towns such as ours do not have a professional accountant or staff capable of preparing financial statements and as such his firm prepared the audit on behalf of the town.
We had the invoice from the county for two years, when Pam and the Powell’s firm specifically stated the County did not give us an invoice.  In fact the invoice shown herein, is the one we received from the Town of White Springs showing that it has been in Pam’s files from the very beginning but she felt the county was going to do the work for free.  That isn’t even logical.
We attended the special meeting of August 3, 2015, regarding the $92,662
which we owe Hamilton County for the Jewett Street project. We are
correct in that FEMA paid White Springs that amount for the claim and the
money was not earmarked for Hamilton County but spent out of the general
fund just like making the LOFT funds a “slush” fund rather than a “restrictive” fund. 
Former Mayor Miller also referred to the fact that in the Powell and Jones
Audit, the $92,662 came in and then the audit showed that the $92,662
went out, so it looked like it had been paid or why did the auditor not catch
that when processing the operating budget?

But wait, the Auditor Richard C. Powell CPA forwarded an August 7, 2015 letter to the Mayor and Town Council:

“This will address questions regarding the reporting of FEMA grant funds totaling $92,662 in the audit report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014.  At the time of our audit fieldwork, the Town had received and recorded these grant funds in the General Fund.  However, the Town had not recorded the corresponding amount due to Hamilton County to reflect that the County had paid for the grant expenditures of $92,662 on behalf of the Town. We were not provided this information during the audit probably because a formal invoice had not been sent to the Town by the County and entered into the Town’s record.
Thus, the original audit reflected the grant revenue, but did not reflect the grant expenditures in the financial statements.  We have corrected this matter and have reissued the Town’s financial report.  The grant schedule on page 54 was correct on both the original and reissued reports since grant expenditures equal to the grant were incurred by the Town during the fiscal year, they were just not paid during the year.
The Financial Statement Preparation finding on page 55 is a required disclosure finding under Government Auditing Standards.  This funding basically states that the Town does not have a professional accountant on staff capable of preparing the financial statements and notes disclosures and thus our office prepared these on behalf of the Town.  This finding is contained in substantially all of our smaller cities and non-profit audit reports ad to date has not been viewed negatively by the Auditor General or other regulatory agencies.

 

We appreciate the Town staff bringing this full grant transaction to our attention so that we could properly reflect it in the Town’s audit report.  We also very much appreciate working with the town on the annual audit and other financial matters.”
The Hamilton County’s Invoice  was forwarded to Pam Tomlinson,  Finance Director for payment once the work was done.  It states invoice but is not a simple one short line invoice Pam is used to but one in which is required by contractors.  It shows a breakdown of the cost of everything which was done on the project  which the total amount was developed. Pam Tomlinson apparently could not read the area of the invoice where it was stated”invoice” and contended to all concern that no invoice was involved.  Likewise Mr. Powell blamed the County and stated no invoice was received.  But the county did provide an invoice on a timely basis and for some reason the Town did not pay and someone did not follow up for the money. 
In our September 18 interview of Mr. Powell, he still contended that the County did not do their job.  Well, the County did bill the Town of White Springs and for some reason, no one followed up for the money until Joe called the County.  The sad part is this  by reason it is required that a contractor, in this case the County, is required to provide a breakdown of the cost of everything which was done for which a total amount due was developed.  Now this matter was not handled by former Manager Bill Lawrence, who apparently assumed it was handled by Bob Farley; then Shirley Heath was interim Town Manager and did nothing about it.  Enter Stacy Tebo, and she did not know how to handle the transaction and likewise had to call Louie Goodin in from the County to assist assist the Town on our computer program so that check could be issued for the amount which was due due two years prior.
And at that 2015 meeting,  You’ll never guess what was said by Pam Tomlinson when council woman Helen Miller inquired about why the invoice had not been paid.  It was Pam who did not recognize the following as being an invoice.  She then said, “Well since I didn’t get a bill, I thought the county was going to do the work for free”.  Isn’t it nice that they get money from FEMA and like the LOFT funds they do not separate it as a payable to the County; then the Town had to take $55,000 of the money out of the Sewer and Water Enterprise Account, because that much money had been misspent.  No one could believe the ignorance of our Town Managers but specifically our “Financial Director” who not only does not have accounting and finance experience.  In order to have those titles, other than just a “bookkeeper” you have to have a degree.  And even though Stacy Tebo had the highest level of education, she apparently knew nothing about accounting or finance herself and still does not since she has taken White Springs more nearly into bankruptcy than we would like.  But the sad part is none of these people have deductive reasoning to figure out simple mathematical procedures and equations.
And to assure Florida State Officials that the Town did not spend the $92,662 on Streets and Roads from LOFT funds we provided them with the aforementioned explanation, but not the Auditor’s letter, which we will hold should additional information be required under the LOFT misuse complaints.

 

Of Course Anita asked whether this was Pam Tomlinson’s fault and Mr. Powell would not state that to be so.  Instead he blamed the County and everyone else other than he and Pam Tomlinson.  That did not make us happy and we do not know why everyone is so afraid of telling the Truth that we need someone who knows something about actual accounting which Pam Tomlinson does not and has not in all of these years.  And Stacy Tebo had opportunity to get someone who understood accounting and could help her with reports, but Stacy does not have the knowledge, nor would she listen to Mayor Miller, and as a result Ms. Tebo apparently is as ignorant as some of the people she has hired or retained.  And Tebo and Pam are paid the big bucks for running White Springs down the crapper.

 

Karin for the blog

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