City, consultants working to get ready for state audit

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— Evansville city government and its consultants are working to complete the city’s 2012 financial record, in the hope of a better state audit than the previous year’s document.

A software conversion was blamed for the city’s accounts being out of balance during 2011 and much of last year.

The State Board of Accounts audit for 2011 cited a lack of oversight across city government. It accuses the City of “no process to identify or communicate corrective actions to improve controls.”

Evansville leaders say the modernized software bought in 2011 now is working. However, the process of reconciling city accounts has been ongoing for months and isn’t finished.

City government since 2011 has employed two consultants, Harding Shymanski & Co. of Evansville and H.J. Umbaugh and Associates of Indianapolis.

The City Council in November voted 6-2 to hire yet another accountant, David Garrett, to work with the city controller’s office.

Data must be ready for review by the end of February. Controller Russ Lloyd Jr. and Dan Hedden, a partner in Umbaugh, told the City Council on Monday the city has about $1.17 million more in the bank than its records indicate.

“We’ve cleared all the checks, cleared all the deposits, we’ve identified a lot of the adjusting entries and we still have more to do,” Lloyd said.

City Council Finance Chairman John Friend, D-5th Ward, said it appears the city still has a mountain to climb.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Friend said.

“This time, the State Board of Accounts won’t be so benevolent with us. I don’t think they’re going to be. It’s imperative on this administration that we get this done.”

Lloyd said he’s more optimistic than Friend the work will be completed and Evansville will have a good 2012 audit.

Harding Shymanski’s contract with the city was about $76,000. The amount of Umbaugh’s contract was not available Monday evening. Garrett is being paid $20,000.

“This is where I’d be outraged as a taxpayer,” said City Councilman Jonathan Weaver, D-At-large, who in November voted against Garrett’s hiring.

Also Monday, the City Council re-elected Connie Robinson, D-4th Ward, to serve another year as president.

City Councilman Dan Adams, D-At-large, was elected the panel’s vice president for 2013. Weaver voted no.

Robinson said she is reappointing Friend as finance chairman.

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