Timberlane’s financial auditors have still not released the audit for the 2016/17 year despite promising its completion by March 30, 2018.
One cannot help but wonder why the audit has not been completed. Add to that the sudden resignation of a new treasurer whose resignation email, though redacted by the SAU, seems to indicate that she could not balance the accounts – and I can’t help but wonder what is going on at SAU 55.
Some noticeably defensive behavior by SAU Business Administrator at school board meetings also gives rise to questions. (Video clips follow.)
By way of background you should know that back in early September, 2017 the board voted to have an internal controls audit done of the SAU business operations for Timberlane. The board instructed the SAU to issue an RFP in Feb, 2018, and have recommendations for hiring an auditing firm by May 5, 2018.
The first video clip below is from the Feb 15, 2018 school board meeting. The board is talking about the internal controls audit. Interestingly after all the discussion at this February 15 meeting, the RFP was not issued in March and TRSB will not be receiving bid recommendations by May 5. No reason has been given. Instead, Mr. Dowd notes that our financial auditors have turned their attention to our internal controls. That’s interesting because every audit Plodzik and Sanderson have done for us says explicitly that they did not assess the effectiveness of our internal controls.
Attack the Messenger
Back to the clip of the Feb 15 meeting. Note how important it is for Mr. Dowd to vilify me over the issues I raised to the auditor about the 2016/17 audit. He takes significant digs at me at least four times in this short excerpt. I’m not in the room to defend myself, having resigned from the board the previous week. Chairman Boyle conveniently pretended to not know the nature of the issues I raised. For the record, I have not asked for any information from the auditor. I have simply pointed out reporting and controls issues. In addition to sending my letter to the auditor, I did also send it to the Commissioner of Education. I also promised to send my letter to the professional body that oversees CPAs if the issues weren’t addressed in Timberlane’s audit. Read Letter to Auditors March 2018 certified, which was sent to Mr. Boyle and the whole board, by the way.
Mr. Dowd tried to suggest that my concerns are outside the scope of a normal financial audit and would therefore cost Timberlane extra money in auditing fees. In fact, the auditors themselves said in emails I obtained through Right to Know that the issues Arthur Green and I raised were within the scope of their audit. This means, of course, that there should be no extra charge for examining them. Mr. Dowd is suggesting there may not be enough money with which to hire an internal controls auditor, despite the board having voted to do it and the financial auditors saying The Greens’ concerns were within their normal scope.
In the second clip, taken from the April 5, TRSB meeting, Mr. Dowd chastens the board lest they think about criticizing him for being behind with all the extra work of the default budget. It is quite a high handed finger wagging he gives the board considering the board didn’t breathe a molecule of criticism of him and simply inquired as to how close the audit was to completion. Still waiting, by the way.
From TRSD’s 2016 Auditor’s report (page 1, my emphasis):
An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgment, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the
financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entity’ s preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are
appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity’s internal control . Accordingly , we express no such opinion. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements.