Despite objections, independent auditor TGM Group will audit Dewey Beach’s financial statements at least one more time.
The Dewey Audit Committee decided at its Feb. 9 meeting to have TGM audit the town’s 2019 fiscal year statements, and voted 4-2 to seek a new auditor for the 2020 fiscal year.
Former audit committee secretary Diane Hanson said she strongly recommended the committee issue an RFP for a new auditor.
“It’s good practice to change auditors on a regular basis,” she said. “I think, also, we paid a lot to this particular firm. and I’m not sure we got value for that money.”
Committee member Marty Levine agreed, “These people seem to be overcharging us, and they seem to be not doing a thorough job.”
Chair Julie Johnson said the town has used auditor TGM Group for the past five fiscal years. With Dewey’s fiscal year ending March 31, Johnson said there is not enough time to issue a strong RFP and hire a quality auditor.
Town Manager Scott Koenig said TGM audited the town’s financial statements for about $19,000 and prepared the agreed-upon procedures report for about $54,000. He said he heard complaints about the agreed-upon procedures report, but not the financial statements.
The town-funded agreed-upon procedures report examined procurement practices of all town departments and offered suggestions for improvement. The report was spurred by revelations in a September 2017 investigation into Dewey employee allegations against former Town Manager Marc Appelbaum that the police department was using revenue generated from the sale of federal military surplus items as a slush fund.
Commissioner David Moskowitz said he felt the current auditor, Roy Geiser of TGM, was not up to par. Moskowitz said Geiser missed two off-balance sheet accounts, misread a report and was late in following up with him.
“He had a lazy type of approach,” Moskowitz said. “You need to keep him on a short leash.”
Committee member Bill Stevens said finding off-balance sheet accounts was not the auditor’s responsibility.
“They’re not hired to uncover accounts or do an investigative report,” Stevens said. “They look at what is presented to them.”
Committee member Debbie Knight, participating by phone, agreed the timeline was too short to hire a new auditor for this fiscal year, but asked how the committee would address concerns about the current auditor.
Commissioner Gary Persinger reminded the committee they could select someone within TGM, other than Geiser, to conduct the audit.
Marty and Lisa Levine, who favored replacing TGM this year, voted against issuing an RFP for the 2020 fiscal year; Johnson, Stevens, Donna Alexander and Bernie Krauss voted for the 2020 RFP.