Town Board Response to Media Audit Reporting

The Supervisor and the Town Board Members recently wrote and signed a letter to local media outlets responding to their reporting on the Comptroller’s Audit.  It is included below.

The Rest of the Story

Contrary to the Medias’ melodramatic reporting of The Town of Newfield’s financial woes, the sky has not fallen in Newfield.  Local papers – online and print – and radio stations in Tompkins County have played up the Town’s latest Comptroller’s audit using terms such as “State Auditors Blast Newfield Finances”.

What the public may not know is that the State auditors were invited in by the Town to review the accounting books in order the help the Town get a better handle on our financial situation. The State auditors review covered the time period from January 1, 2011 through June 11, 2012.  This was a very stressful time for the Town.   Our bookkeeper had resigned in June 2011 after working 18 months.  After the resignation, the Town discovered that the bookkeeper was incompetent, financials were in disarray, and errors in previous years were carried forward and compounded.

The State auditor findings were no surprise to the Town board.  We already knew that these issues existed.  What the State audit report does not convey is that during the audit process, the Town Supervisor had contracted with a CPA and an independent accountant to clean up the mess and reconstruct records.  At the same time the Town board hired a new bookkeeper and implemented controls to better monitor our financials.

Our Independent external auditors have completed their audit review of the Town’s financials for both 2011 and 2012.  The Town’s financial position is better than the Town board was anticipating in both years. And we have strengthened internal controls in place to review bank reconciliations, payment vouchers, and monthly financial reports.

The short version is we knew about it, we got help, and we fixed it.