Brentwood Receives Scathing State Audit

May 7, 2013

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich unveils the findings of a scathing audit of the City of Brentwood, on May 7, 2013.
Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich unveils the findings of a scathing audit of the City of Brentwood, on May 7, 2013.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich has issued a scathing audit of the City of Brentwood.

From failing to get competitive bids to lax documentation, the report found the city’s business practices are riddled with holes. 

Brentwood got a grade of “poor” in the audit, the lowest the state auditor can give.

“We found eight problem areas and 21 issues, which is a lot for a municipality, in fact I’m not sure I can think of one where we had more,” Schweich said.  “The whole city needs to tighten up its controls.”

Even though city officials have pledged to plug those holes, resident Melanie Hancock said actions speak louder than words. 

“Until we actually see something get better, none of the residents of Brentwood are going to believe it,” Hancock said.

A follow up audit will be conducted in 90 days, and Mayor Pay Kelly thinks they’ll have the fixes in place by then.

“It’s a good exercise,” Kelly said.   “It’s something we did need.  We need to take those findings, we need to look at them and implement the changes to better our community.”

Go here to read the full report, below are some of the highlights.

Expenditures

The city did not retain most of the bid documentation for the new firehouse construction project and has not solicited proposals for ambulance billing services since 1998. The city has not obtained proposals and written contracts for various professional services, has not paid fuel bills timely and often incurs late fees and/or finance charges, and does not maintain adequate documentation for some credit card purchases, making it difficult to ensure all purchases on city credit cards are appropriate and reasonable. The city has incurred significant costs over the last 10 years to provide fringe benefits to some elected city officials without establishing an ordinance authorizing these benefits.

Fire Department Overtime and Timesheets

The city entered a legal settlement with the firefighters union over excessive overtime payments. However, the city cannot demonstrate the settlement is adequate and fair, because it has no documentation showing how much excess overtime was charged to the city. Prior to July 2011, fire department employees were not required to complete timesheets, and currently the fire department only submits a summary report to the finance department when overtime is worked.

Accounting Controls

Payroll duties and receipting duties are not adequately segregated or reviewed. The payroll clerk's work is not reviewed, payroll report details are not approved prior to disbursement, and there is no supervisory review or reconciliation of the accounting clerk's work or the General Fund bank reconciliation. Monies are not promptly receipted or recorded in the accounting system, receipts are not always deposited timely and intact, and the numerical sequence of receipt slips is not accounted for properly.

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