Council receives two bids for internal audit

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — Two firms bid to conduct an internal audit of the town’s financial controls and records, but whether the Town Council will give one the job remained unclear last week.

The Town Council in July issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an auditor to review internal controls and evaluate areas vulnerable to fraud and abuse, the adequacy of the town’s financial policies and procedures, and the town’s financial and auditing organizational structure. Officials also want the auditor chosen to assist in implementing any recommended improvements.

The internal audit will include a review of financial statements from fiscal years 2013-14 through 2018-19, and possibly the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“We want to make sure the internal controls of the financial situation of the town are being handled in the proper way,” council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said.

The desire for an internal audit comes after unauthorized transactions were made from the town’s Webster Bank payroll account from December 2017 to November 2018. Town officials previously put the amount stolen at about $250,000.

The six-year period for the audit also covers when seven transactions totaling about $45,000 were made from the budget for public works employees’ salary to pay five outside vendors and two non-public works employees in the 2014-15 fiscal year. In 2017, the council investigated the transactions. At the time, the transactions were attributed to human error.

The firms O’Connor Davies, which is based in Wethersfield, and The Bonadio Group, which is based in New York, responded to the RFP.

The Bonadio Group bid $39,750 plus an additional $6,600 if the 2019-20 fiscal year is included in the review, according to Slapikas.

O’Connor Davies bid an average hourly rate of $250, but no total amount, Slapikas said.

Slapikas believes the audit may end up costing more then what was bid with everything the council wants reviewed.

The council agreed during its Sept. 1 meeting that it needed more information about the proposals before proceeding.

“We need to sit down and decide exactly what we’re looking for as a group,” council member Patricia Geary said.

The council held a special meeting Sept. 3 to discuss the proposals further and refine questions for the two firms. The council is hoping to meet with the firms sometime this week to interview them.

If council members like what they hear they could potentially award a bid at the Sept. 15 meeting. If not, the work will likely go back out to bid.

“We’ll ask our questions. If they can answer them, then we’ll make a decision. If not, we’ll put them back out,” council member Megan Patchkofsky said during the Sept. 1 meeting.