By Donald J. Lynch
It is hard to decide how to respond to a diatribe such as that put forth against the city of Kingman by Dean Wolslagel in the Dec. 15 Miner (Would Kingman's city finances survive scrutiny?). Let us start with my credentials: I am a certified public accountant and have been licensed since 1980. I also do not tolerate government corruption and never met a tax I liked.
There is no such thing as a forensic audit. Forensic accounting, forensic reporting and forensic analysis are done in order to prepare reports suitable for use in court for criminal prosecutions, civil suits, bankruptcy and other proceedings. On the other hand, an audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, GAAS, is very thorough and includes a complete review of internal controls and compliance with laws, regulations and agreements. The city is required by law to have such an audit every year. In addition, the audit must comply with government auditing standards. You can find a copy of the audit on the city's website.
An important part of an audit in accordance with GAAS is the internal control report. The internal control report for the city of Kingman is not available on the city's website. So, I went to city hall and asked for a copy. Without questioning my motives or any other delays, the complete audit report with the internal control report was given to me.
The report states, "We did not identify any weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting that we consider to be material weaknesses." In other words, the city received a clean audit report.
The city of Kingman does not block an audit. An outside firm of certified public accountants puts their reputation on the line in issuing an opinion on the financial statements of the city each year. I assure you, the fee is not enough to risk losing their licenses, criminal charges, civil suits and other consequences of covering up any discrepancies at the city of Kingman, or any other agency or company.
Furthermore, if the auditors find something they don't like, the city cannot just fire them and get someone else. The next firm also has to consider why the city is changing auditors and cannot ignore the professional opinions of their predecessors.
So Mr. Wolslagel does not like the fact the city has a municipal golf course and loses a pretty good chunk of change each year maintaining that golf course. I do not golf, so I am not thrilled with it either.
However, my opinion or Mr. Wolslagel's opinion that the city should not have a golf course does not make it illegal or otherwise improper. We elect officials to represent us in city government and they make the decisions they consider best for the city. In Kingman that includes funding a golf course, parks, swimming pools, a powerhouse, bike trails and other public conveniences. If I disagree I am free to state my difference, including at the beginning of a city council meeting, to vote the scoundrel out of office, or to run for office myself.
So is Mr. Wolslagel.