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Trumbull's Palo: Expedite Audit of Accounts

Palo is a member of the Trumbull Board of Finance.

Board of Finance member Andrew Palo is urging First Selectman Timothy Herbst and his appointed WPCA members to quicken an audit of their 20 and 59 accounts which started back in September of 2010.

In their September 22, 2010 minutes, the WPCA unanimously voted in favor of an independent audit of the 59 account. This authorization was then expanded to include the 20 account shortly thereafter. Over two years later, this audit has still not been performed.

If you were to follow this process along by looking at the WPCA’s monthly minutes since September, 2010 you will find that the process has been arduous. The two individuals who took on the task to manage this audit were Commissioners Karen Egri and Paul Kallmeyer. Discussions amongst members regarding the scope of the audit are numerous as well as what verbiage should be included in the Request For Proposal (RFP). For example, in their February 23, 2011 minutes, the WPCA removed the following from the RFP: “Because of the nature of this work and the historical/background information, it may be that an adversarial nature may develop between the Finance dept. staff and the auditors. This would be regrettable, but in no way should affect the delivery of the information requested in this proposal. Proposers should take this into account when preparing their fee.”

In their July 27, 2011 minutes, the WPCA unanimously approved Seward & Monde to perform the audit of the two accounts. Then, in their November 16, 2011 minutes, there is mention that there are “concerns regarding the service or lack of service the WPCA is receiving”. This is followed by the following in their January 25, 2012 minutes, “Commissioner Egri summarized the meeting with the auditors and their requests. She also said we need to consult with our Attorney because there is a lot of information that is not available and it may require relooking at the scope of the audit.” Finally, in their March 28, 2012 minutes they decided to put the RFP out to re-bid. It was also indicated that a full audit of these accounts hadn’t been performed since 2004.

 

In the May 23, 2012 minutes, “Commissioner Egri said she has finished reworking the bid and is meeting with Maria Pires this Wednesday and it should be out to bid shortly after that.” In the three meetings that have taken place since May 23rd, there haven’t been any updates from Commissioner Egri on this topic.

I am urging the First Selectman and my fellow colleagues on the WPCA to expedite this process. It is important that the Board of Finance receives independently audited balances from the WPCA. Frankly, seeing that a full audit of these accounts hasn’t been performed since 2004, we need to move on this immediately. This audit process has taken over two years and I am hoping that when the WPCA meets on September 26, 2012 it finalizes everything and moves forward.

Andrew Palo

Cindy Katske September 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Andy, is there a WPCA meeting tonight? It is listed on the town calendar, but there is no agenda posted on the town website. And thank you for bringing up this issue. I had no idea that the WPCA has been unable to manage having an audit of its accounts. It is very sorely overdue!
Thomas Tesoro September 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I agree with Andy that these audits are long overdue. If I remember correctly, the WPCA sought and received a "legal opinion" allowing it to bypass the Board of Finance on certain matters. I think this is a bad idea. As an elected member of the Board of Finance I know it can sometimes be uncomfortable for department heads and Commissions to come to our meetings and answer questions. The WPCA had such an experience a few years ago when they wanted to drain one of thier accounts to mitigate assessments on certain properties. While I am sure their intentions were good, it has to be pointed out that the money in those accounts comes from all sewer users and the decision to use the money in that fashion was, in my humble opinion, excessive. Certainly, I would have favored using some of the funds to assist my neighbors but not the entire account. Nevertheless, that is water under the bridge. I urge the WPCA to tell the taxpayers why these audits are so long in coming.
Andrew Palo October 17, 2012 at 08:54 PM
PUBLIC HEARING OCTOBER 24, 2012 SEWER USER RATE INCREASE Pursuant to section 7-255 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority hereby gives notice of a Public Hearing, Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Long Hill Room, Town Hall, 5866 Main Street, Trumbull, Connecticut. A 1.6% increase in the Sewage Treatment fee will be proposed. Residential Sewage Treatment per CCF,currently $4.36 Proposed $ 4.43 Industrial Sewage Treatment per CCF,currently $4.74 Proposed $ 4.82 Flat Rate (well water) Treatment per quarter, currently $128.63 Proposed $ 130.26 The increase is necessary to offset the City of Bridgeport's proposed 1.6% increase in Sewage Treatment costs. The Trumbull WPCA is co-dependent with Bridgeport's West Side Treatment Plant for wastewater disposal and must pass on the increase it inherited. The new rates will be reflected on the next billing cycle mailed in November, 2012. Dated this 4th day of October 2012 Jeanine Maietta Lynch, Chairman Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority

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