City Hires CPA Firm to Help Prepare State-Required Financial Statements | Local News
City council has approved the hiring of a Raleigh certified accounting firm to help the city file its financial statements on time with the state.
Greg Isley CPA will be paid $ 100 per hour for his services. The move is part of a corrective action plan that the city filed with the state’s Local Government Commission.
The LGC placed Elizabeth City on its unit assistance plan in September after the city filed its 2019-20 financial statements more than six months after the January 31, 2021 deadline.
Part of the remedial plan includes submitting a detailed schedule of when the city will submit its financial documents to its external audit firm. The city also wrote to LGC that it had scheduled talks for a new CFO.
The new CFO will be the third since 2017, and the city said that and other turnover in the department was one of the reasons for the late filing.
Council approved the hiring of Isley and the submission of the corrective action plan to the LGC on a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Johnnie Walton voting the only “no”. Councilors Billy Caudle, Jeannie Young, Michael Brooks, Chris Ruffieux and Kem Spence voted yes. Councilors Gabriel Adkins and Darius Horton were absent from last week’s meeting.
All advisers were then invited to sign the letter to the LGC.
A note to city council from Acting City Manager Eddie Buffaloe and Acting CFO Alicia Steward said Isley is well known and specializes in financial statements, bank reconciliations and government accounting practices.
“Isley’s firm will provide our unit with insight into best practices for ensuring the timeliness of financial statements going forward,” the memo said.
Walton expressed concern about seeing the corrective action letter for the first time at last week’s meeting and asked what that meant for “are we signing this document?” “
“It means you approve of the problem statement, the root cause and the corrective actions the city is going to take,” Buffaloe replied. “I hope this doesn’t happen again.”
Walton said he didn’t know what the basic issues were and wondered why he should sign a document that had not yet been discussed.
Buffaloe said all of council had received copies of the two detailed letters from the LGC saying the town was on the unit aid plan and that it had been discussed at a previous meeting that the financial statements to the state were late.
“I remember we talked about problems, but when did those problems go back? Walton asked. “It shouldn’t be set up for me to sign something that I’m not clear about. I don’t know exactly what happened in 2020. If we can hire someone to look at the records, that means the records are not correct.
Walton then asked what Isley would be looking for.
Buffaloe said the city was not put on the LGC’s watchlist due to embezzlement. He said Isley will help the city prepare to audit the city’s books for 2021-2022.
“It’s not that they’re looking for anything,” Buffaloe said. “I brought it to council last week, or the week before, and this council gave me instructions to contact the League of Municipalities to find someone to help our finance department so that we could remove from UAL list. We found this person.