Some county commissioners are balking at a contract for services to conduct this year’s independent financial audit.
Platte County Auditor Siobhann Williams presented the contract to the commissioners last week asking for a letter of engagement. Instead what she received was a scolding from Kathy Dusenbery, first district commissioner.
Dusenbery and Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight expressed concern over the cost of the audit by Cochran, Head, Vick and Company. The same firm has worked on the county’s financial audit the past two years and has a deal in place for a third that includes an increase.
Williams told The Landmark on Monday that in the first year of the arrangement, the county actually spent less on the audit than in previous years and that a yearly increase is built in. Some expenses increased last year due to the installation of new software.
Dusenbery expressed frustration with Williams over the software conversion last year.
“The problem I have is that was used then as an excuse that you needed more staff when it was really a one time thing,” she said.
Dusenbery added that the increases seem too big.
“It doesn’t look small to me,” Dusenbery said in response to Williams’ answer that there is a small increase from last year. “Aren’t we spending more on auditing than we ever had before?”
In October, the commission hired a consulting firm for $9,000 to do a 30-day evaluation of the county’s human resources department after Williams made allegations that there were problems. So far the evaluation has released little results. A few weeks ago, Jim Plunkett, second district county commissioner, released two findings of the evaluation that Williams later debunked.
The outside audit results also confirmed problems with the HR department.
Knight also pointed out that Williams’ office is now preparing the county’s financial statements. Outside auditors prepared the statements in the past.
“If you are doing more and more than why is the costs for (the auditor) increasing?” Knight asked. “If you’re doing more work and we’re paying more that just doesn’t seem reasonable to me,” Dusenbery added.
Dusenbery then lashed out at Williams for not attending budget meetings last Wednesday and Thursday morning prior to the commission meeting.
“It was a complete waste of my time yesterday,” Dusenbery said. “We just didn’t get anything accomplished. We’re going to have to reschedule a lot of these meetings and it’s very frustrating.”
Williams said she emailed Knight on Nov. 5 letting her know that she would be out of the office on Nov. 18. Furthermore, she told Dusenbery that some meetings had been rescheduled.
Knight said she never received the email. Dusenbery said the commission schedule is posted so Williams should have known.
“You watch our schedule like a hawk so that excuse is silly,” Dusenbery alleged.
The commission tabled the issue of the outside audit contract until Williams could provide them with a cost history for outside auditors. ￼￼