Spencer extends audit contract a fourth time with no report in hand

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 13, 2022

SPENCER — Spencer Board of Aldermen members shook their heads and rolled eyes when Town Manager Peter Franzese delivered the latest news on the town’s audit report on Tuesday.

He told the board it would have to amend its contract with R.H. CPAs a fourth time because the process had extended beyond the previous extension approved in May.

Spencer officials expected to receive the audit Tuesday morning, but it did not arrive. Even if the report had been delivered on Tuesday, the board still would have had to amend the contract because it was outside the last extension period.

Spencer Budget Officer John Sofley said he was on the phone with the R.H. representative at 10:30 p.m. Monday evening and was told the audit balanced correctly, but in the morning the R.H. employee was out sick.

“I’ve been on the phone a lot,” Sofley told the board.

When the last extension was approved in May, the board was told the audit was in the final review process, and at the extension in March the board was told the draft would be delivered “within a week or so.”

The first extension was related to COVID-19, but since then the issue has been attributed to obtaining a balance that reconciles to the previous year’s financial statements. The town’s former auditor worked on paper and Sofley told the board the new firm did not receive groupings for accounts in the balance and if there is a wrong number placed in an electronic financial statement, it will never balance.

“They were working to match those groupings,” Sofley said.

He said the issue has been resolved and the statements are in balance. The latest extension does not come with any additional cost. He told the Post there has never been a concern about the town’s finances themselves.

The board has been assured future audits should not have the same issue.

Alderwoman Pat Sledge noted she was happy to see a page outlining a plan to prevent future late submissions.

Mayor Jonathan Williams asked the board for a motion to amend the contract a “final” time and got it.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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