New federal guidelines flag municipalities for audits

2013-11-09T18:30:00Z 2013-11-09T23:29:09Z New federal guidelines flag municipalities for auditsMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 09, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

LOWELL | New federal guidelines have caused more than one municipality and its clerk-treasurer to be audited and written up, state officials said.

Lowell Clerk-Treasurer Judy Walters said the town was caught up in an audit because an improvement project at the town's wastewater treatment plant is largely funded through a federal grant.

"We were audited last year, and everything was done the same," Walters said.

She learned later that new federal guidelines had prompted audits in other Indiana communities.

Charlie Pride, field supervisor for the State Board of Accounts, said it's happening across the country.

"A lot have expressed concern across the state, but they should feel better because it's not just them. It's national," Pride said. "It's shocking for someone like Judy, who's always done such a great job."

Pride said the "new shift in auditing" came down from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"They audit the state auditors," he said.

Pride said 33 towns and 35 cities in Indiana have been federally audited and written up for not conforming to the new guidelines.

In Lowell's case, Walters said, "There was no issue. We just didn't have certain internal controls in place. ... Our contention is that is what you pay an engineer for."

Retained professionals, supervisors, department heads and others verifying project documents must now initial them to indicate they have been read, she said.

Pride said there is no penalty assessed to cities and towns cited in the audits.

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