I learned something new today. Borough policy dictates that Bill Conner oversees the police payroll.
Dale Kerns, and now Ralph Orr, want to continue to talk about an “agreed upon procedure,” completed in October 2012. The end result of this “agreed upon procedure” shows a need for updated accounting procedures and an extra $48. For whatever reason, it seems that Kerns and Orr want to define their campaign with this report.
So, let’s talk about it. All of it.
We agree that accounting procedures needed revision. It was time to update the practice of allowing cash advances and set procedures in place aimed at improving oversight. What Orr and Kerns forget to tell everyone is that the Council (prior to Kerns’ appointment) had taken action and fixed the accounting and oversight procedures. Howat no longer oversees the Borough finances, which are now reviewed by a team of people. Thus, the biggest issue that Kerns and Orr want to talk about, that being the weak accounting procedures, has been fixed with actions taken by Council.
A second conclusion in the report found an excess of $48. I am not sure if they spent the $48, yet.
But, because it is election season, and because the Borough Manager has friends opposing Kerns and Orr, these two still want to try to exploit this issue.
Do we like that there were accounting issues found? Absolutely not. However, the Council voted to fix that problem. It is kind of hard to complain about a problem that has been fixed. It is even harder to complain about a problem that has been fixed, given that the problem we are talking about was a long standing practice that resulted in no missing money. The cash advances were an outdated practice that has been stopped. But, Kerns and Orr want to emphasize things that happened years ago and ignore the recent actions of people who voted to implement the recommendations. They want to emphasize the friendships of people in an attempt to loop everyone together in order to try to create a "guilty by association" scenario.
It could be a great campaign strategy, except for one small point Kerns and Orr have neglected to mention.
The report had specific parameters put around it, limiting the scope of the search and inquiry. It says this on page 1.
Why would Councilwoman Thompson, the finance co-chair, limit the scope of this“agreed upon procedure” to finances handled by one payroll coordinator? As stated above, I learned something knew today. According to the mayor, the police chief handles police payroll. Why would Danielle Thompson exclude the police payroll accounts, which were overseen by Chief Bill Connor? Furthermore, why would Orr accept this omission?
Let’s be clear. We are accusing no one of doing anything wrong here. Our question, though, is why limit the scope of an “agreed upon procedure” to the work of just one person if two people are responsible for something?
And why isn’t Kerns concerned about the lack of oversight on Connor’s account?
If Kerns is going imply that Howat’s friends provided improper oversight, don’t you have to at least consider the appropriateness of Thompson’s omission of reviewing the work of Connor, in this particular scenario, given that they live together? According to the Mayor’s statements, Connor approves his own pay. And, according to page 1 of Kerns’ favorite “agreed upon procedure” report, the reviewer's had limited access and a defined scope. Thus, they could only look at what they were paid to look at, and they had to ignore the other accounts.
Kerns and Orr need to give “We the people” credit, stop speaking to us in half-truths, and give us a whole story without their political agenda stamped all over it.