City of Utica’s Audit Still Incomplete
The audit for the City of Utica is still incomplete.
The city’s Budget Director, Peter Fiorello, is confirming that the audit is not complete but says is expected to be done very soon. When asked if it would be done prior to the next meeting of the Common Council he said that it would not be that soon. He said that Comptroller William Morehouse is working with auditors to ensure that it is done within the next few weeks.
Other officials in City Hall have spoken to WIBX on condition of anonymity saying that the accounting records in the building are “a mess,” one saying that the book’s finances have not been properly reconciled in decades. All are reluctant to point fingers, especially at the current administration, most saying that those currently in office “inherited the mess.” Whether or not the books are a “mess,” as has been described by some, remains to be seen. None of the records pertaining to the audit have been released, even for preliminary review.
Every official with whom WIBX has spoken has indicated that there is not only an eagerness, but a dire need to get the audit done.
One of the things complicating matters is the fact that the city’s fiscal year ends March 31st. It was not unusual in years past for the audit to begin after the closing out of the fiscal year. Some speculate that is the reason why Morehouse, who said that he would seek an accountant for the position of Deputy Comptroller, named Michael Cerminaro to the post. Cerminaro held the position of Comptroller prior to Morehouse’s election.
Another notable change is the fact that the audit process, although executed by the Office of the Comptroller, is now overseen by the Mayor’s Office. Under prior administrations the auditors were hired by the Comptroller. The current administration deemed that practice a conflict of interest, and hired The Bonadio Group to apply a magnifying glass to the city’s books.
Morehouse has kept mum thus far on the issue of the audit, saying that he will keep good on his campaign promise of transparency once the audit is complete.
The final audit will be presented to the Common Council.