A BIG debate is happening in the small community of Allagash. The community had not had an official town audit in several years.Now they say they’re in the process of completing it. Municipal leaders say there’s no big reason why its not happened. But as Shawn Cunningham reports, not having an annual audit is failing to be compliant with a Maine state law for governing municipalities. .
The basement inside the Allagash Municipal Building is full of these boxes containing town financial documents. Tax records, budget numbers and grant applications. Allagash resident Margaret McBrearity says the files shouldn’t be in the town office basement, they should have been at auditor’s office for an annual review. Allagash has not had a town audit since 2010 says McBrearity, and it strikes her as odd and insincere.
Margaret McBrearity says “they need to produce an audit we need to quit talking about it and we need to see an audit.”
Allagash Town Selectwoman Patricia Pelletier admits an audit hasn’t happened for some time. And gives her reasonings why..
“alot of it was just going back and forth with the auditor needing paperwork and me looking for it and in the meantime someone would call and ask about it and they’d say he’s not hearing from us and then that paperwork would get sent down and then he’d call for more and then that went on and then he had an illness for a while.” says Pelletier.
But for THREE YEARS? Pelletier says in addition to that back and forth, she had the business of running the town, new people coming in and other responsibilities to handle. PLUS she says, SHE wasn’t in charge of dealing with the auditor…The THEN town clerk and treasurer was. Two people who held that job got done, and the audit process that begun, never was completed. But Pelletier says now it is.
Pelletier adds “now the audit is complete the only thing is the grant thing that we’re going through.”
McBrearity says she’ll believe that when she sees it. She says Pelletier has sworn for more than a year the audit was done. And still, no records to support it. But the auditor tasked with doing the Allagash mising years audit says the job is mostly done. Clifford Rhome issue a statement to Newssource 8 saying
“I began preliminary audit procedures in late 2011. I was provided with some of the records and left a list of additional items I would need. I was not contacted again until mid 2013. Because there was a change in the governing bodies in 2011, they assumed I was working on an audit for the years ending in 2012 and 2013 as well as 2011. Upon clarification of this misunderstanding, if provided the necessary documents, I would complete all three years audits.”
Around town, mixed reaction about the audit issue…
Wayne McBrearity an Allagash Resident says “everybody knows that the audit wasn’t completed because the auditor failed to do it basically everything is the auditor’s fault not the towns.”
Kevin O’Leary adds”it doesn’t cause they have audits every year.”
Margaret says “I don’t understand why this is an argument its just part of your responsibility as a town manager to produce an audit.”
Pelletier says there are now policies in place to ensure an audit is done every year to be compliant with Maine State Law. She says an audit for the 2014 fiscal year will begin later this fall having all audits up to date.