2017-02-15 / Front Page

Council to consult with expert about finances

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Carroll County Council members expressed considerable concern during their monthly meeting Monday afternoon about the state of the county financial situation as described by the recently released Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) audit, for 2014 and 2015. Noting many of the issues found in the audit, Council President Jason Scott said some of the information revealed did not surprise the council members who have served before this year.

“We kind of thought this stuff was going on,” Scott said. “But we didn’t realize some of the errors were in the millions.”

“The main concern for me is, we need to know our accounts are correct,” Scott added.

“My concern is that we don’t have the right balances,” Council member Ann Brown said.

Two other council members agreed with Scott and Brown.

“We have to know the balances,” Council member Lawrence “Doc” Stauffer said.

Carol Clawson added, “We have to know the correct balances.”

County Auditor Tom Gray advised the recent audit was routine. He emphasized it was not a special audit due to requests made by council and community members. He said there will not be another audit for another two years.

Scott and Brown disagreed with Gray. Both council members indicated the audit was done by request due to concerns raised by the council.

Gray said SBOA auditors made suggestions to him about how to improve the record keeping in his office.

“Hopefully things will be better,” he said.

Gray opined that part of the problem was the auditor’s office changed the way it filed claims in 2015, when Vicky Snipes was auditor. He said some of the information requested by the SBOA for the twoyear audit could not be located.

Brown suggested the Council contact Hartman & Williams Governmental Accounting Consultants to review and advise the county leaders about the situation. According to the company’s website, Hartman holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He worked 33 years for the SBOA in various positions, was appointed Deputy State Examiner by Gov. Robert Orr in 1986 and became the supervisor over counties in the Indianapolis office. Hartman was appointed State Examiner by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2005. He oversaw all aspects of the SBOA until his retirement at the end of 2013. Upon leaving the SBOA, along with Mike Williams, Hartman started the firm to assist clients with governmental accounting consulting and forensic accounting services.

Mike Williams also worked 33 years for the SBOA in various positions. He was appointed Deputy State Examiner by Gov. Evan Bayh in 1989. He took a position as Field Supervisor for west-central Indiana area and he retired from the SBOA in 2010. Upon leaving the SBOA, Williams founded his own firm to assist clients with tax preparation, govern- mental accounting consulting and forensic accounting.

Council members present, Carol Clawson, Scott, Stauffer and Tim Ratcliff directed Brown to contact Hartman and Williams and request they review the county’s 2014 and 2015 SBOA audit to make recommendations about how the council should proceed at no cost. The matter is expected to be discussed at the council’s March 13 meeting.

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