Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: City auditor valuable position

Far from being eliminated, as the city manager recommends, the role of auditor should be elevated.

June 14, 2017

Advertisement

Given the billing and record keeping issues that have arisen of late, perhaps the city of Lawrence should elevate — instead of eliminate — the role of city auditor.

Last week, the city reported that an outside audit had revealed that at least 10 city leases had gone unbilled for years, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in lease payments unpaid. RSM Global, an outside auditor, said poor record keeping, insufficient employee training and a lack of oversight caused payments to go uncollected by the city. To make matters worse, RSM auditors said, they expect to find more problems.

Meanwhile, City Manager Tom Markus, for the second consecutive year, is pushing to eliminate the position of city auditor, an independent position that reports to the City Commission and costs the city about $130,000 per year.

Markus doesn’t see the two issues as connected. He thinks there are more effective ways to evaluate the city’s performance than with a city auditor, and he noted that current auditor Michael Eglinski is a performance auditor, not a financial auditor or certified public accountant. Markus said the missing lease payment billings were identified by the city finance director, not the city auditor.

Markus noted that even if the position is eliminated, the city still must conduct an annual audit using an outside auditor. Eliminating Eglinski’s position would save about $130,000 annually.

But while the city auditor didn’t uncover the missing lease payments, Eglinski has uncovered a number of other items that involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in city payments. Notably, it was Eglinski’s 2013 audit that shed light on the fact that the city went for eight years without receiving a $1.26 million payment from Douglas County for its share of the construction of Fire Station No. 5.

Until city commissioners better understand the depth of the problems with the city’s billing and record keeping systems, it seems prudent to retain a city auditor who reports to the commission. Instead of eliminating the position, commissioners should raise expectations for it by requiring more rigorous and intensive audits across all city departments.

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

"Until city commissioners better understand the depth of the problems with the city’s billing and record keeping systems, it seems prudent to retain a city auditor who reports to the commission. Instead of eliminating the position, commissioners should raise expectations for it by requiring more rigorous and intensive audits across all city departments."

This editorial is on the money. YES!

Not only that city hall should do as the school board does. Seek approval from taxpayers as to exactly HOW are the taxpayers interested in spending OUR money.

Put a list before the taxpayers every year.

AFTER any political election please. Politicians unfortunately have a way to turning voters off or away from the polls.

David Holroyd 2 months ago

Well, unsigned editor,,,before anything substantial can happen the commission needs to be made up of folks who can understand simple questions.

How come the Journal World does not interview each present commissioner, Amyx, Boley,( a former auditor himself, so he said) and Herbert and Soden and Larsen, who owned a business...None of the know?

Backing up, Mr. Farmer, Mr. Reardon, Mr. Dever and Mr. Schumm, none of them were told or were they and passed the issue on to Mr. Corliss.

The Journal World is sloppy at best in this matter, Elevating Mr. Eglinski is hardly the issue if he continues to report to the commissioners and they do NOT do anything.

Richard, you do not get it. What good is more auditing required by the commissioners if they do not do anything about the findings.

Oh, what about Ms. Stoddard and Mr. Cooley, and Ms. Wheeler...

Who kept the information covered up or did nothing. Was it those night janitors or maybe the ghosts of the bats that were in the former grain elevators, now known as City Hall?

Who ever is running the paper is dragging out this issue for nothing better to report on. What a shame!

Morris Jordan 2 months ago

The City Manager wants the commissioners to only hear one voice about city operations. The Auditor is the commissioner's independent eyes and ears and the Manager wants to take that away.

The Manager is trying to take credit for identifying a problem Mike reported many times. It's the Manager's responsibility to implement the audit recommendations. That's his job. He should do it and thank the Auditor for doing his job.

All the reports are right here for the Manager to read. He should follow the advice and give proper credit. https://lawrenceks.org/auditor/

David Holroyd 2 months ago

Mr. Morris Jordan, you are perhaps seeing something with both eyes that the city commissioners do not. I remember someone who posted as One Eye Wilbur and that person...could see with one eye what the collective commission cannot see with ten eyes.

Problem? Sure!

But who in the past neglected to resolve the issues that Mr. Eglinski brought forth? Are any of those persons alive or have they all deceased? It shouldn't be too hard for the Journal World to send any reporter out to seek some answers.

When Mr. Markus speaks that Mr. Eglinski does not have a CPA degree, is that what I read?

Does Mr. Boley have such a degree , after all he was with the IRS. Does Mr. Boley have any finance credentials?

Does even Mr. Markus have an accounting background...I shall have to look at that resume again.

So, when is the money to be collected and if so, who will send out the bills? Who was to send them in the past?

David Holroyd 2 months ago

Mr. Morris and the Journal World....did you know that:

Mr. Eglinski on Linkedin states for experience the following:

City Auditor City of Lawrence , KS 2008-Present (9years)

The City Auditor examines and evaluates the activities of the city to help the City Commissioners effectively discharge their duties. The Auditor conducts performance audits following Government Audtiing Standards.

So, with that said.....how has past and present commissioners discharged their duties? And are the Government Auditing Standards similar or alike that Mr. Boley used as an IRS person?

Just asking.

Now we know that one Mr. Farmer discharged his duties for certain while traveling in Europe. But how did the past commissioners discharge their duties or have they all misunderstood what "discharging of duties' really means and thought it meant turn the duty over to Mr. Corliss and whomever.

Mr. Elglinksi was also at the City Auditor's office in KCMO from 1992 to 2007 (15 years) which is longer than the city manager now stayed at most of his jobs...just stating!

Since Mr. Eglinski speaks Swedish....did he write the reports in a language unfamiliar to the current and past commissioners..After all, he should have as it seems it was all "greek to them".

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...