2005 audit finds many problems



The state audit doesn't include any findings for recovery.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city had five funds end 2005 with deficits, spent more money than it appropriated for four other funds, and needs to have citywide cellular telephone and credit card policies, according to a state audit.
The audit, released Thursday, reviews the financial statements for the city for 2005.
The audit doesn't include any findings for monetary recovery. It lists seven noncompliance citations and 16 recommendations to improve the city's financial operations. The 2004 audit also didn't have any findings for recovery, had five noncompliance citations and 17 recommendations, many of them the same as those listed in the 2005 report.
"We're trying to address [the citations and recommendations] and make corrections for this year and do everything by the book," said Annette Klimko, the city finance department's general accounting manager.
Finance Director David Bozanich said he is "generally satisfied with the audit. We realize we need to implement some improvements, and we have already done some."
The city had five funds -- the police levy, the fire levy, the emergency 911 system, the Meadowbrook Pump Station and health services for the homeless -- end 2005 with deficits. Bozanich said those deficits were resolved in early 2006.
What's to be done
The auditor's report states the finance director needs to certify the availability of funds before they are spent. Of the 60 expenditures examined by the auditor's office, Bozanich certified only nine of them. The 2004 report looked at 60 expenditures and determined that Bozanich certified only 12 of them.
The report states the city has to certify available money and unencumbered balances to the county auditor on or about the first of the year. The city didn't do so until March 27, 2006, according to the audit.
Another noncompliance citation was for Bozanich's failing to complete annual required continuing education for programs provided by the Ohio treasurer. Bozanich said he's taken multiple investment classes, but the auditor's office wants him to take certain certified classes, and he'll comply with that requirement.
Among the recommendations in the audit are the development of cell phone and credit card use policies. Policies dealing with those issues are being addressed, Klimko said.
Also, the city doesn't have a formalized accounting policies and procedures manual, the audit states.
The audit points out that the city tracks employee vacation and sick leave, but there are problems monitoring overtime. Overtime balances by police and fire departments employees aren't maintained in the finance department; there is no evidence of supervisory review of police overtime and no documentation to indicate a periodic review of the time exists. This was also an issue raised in the 2004 audit.
"The cumulative effect of these control weaknesses could lead to inaccurate payment of accumulated time balances upon separation from service," the audit reads.
skolnick@vindy.com

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