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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Some reasons why the City of Coatesville's 2008 and 2009 Budgets are not audited

Council Comments Special Coatesville City Council Meeting June 3, 2010.

Coatesville City Councilperson Ms. Ingrid Jones is uncomfortable with some of the numbers. 

“I’m beginning to feel like there’s something rotten in Denmark, It ain’t the pickled herring and it ain’t the cheese. “

Coatesville City Council Vice President Karl Marking, “On the one hand I am incredibly sickened by all this million dollars in surprises and new fees. I don’t hold anyone accountable here because it’s legacy stuff. So, on the other hand it’s nice to feel that we are actually getting a better more detailed picture of where we stand, what’s happening. I know that we have a lot of issues still, to put I’s and crosses to, whatever. But we’re getting there. It’s painful but we are continuing in a better direction.

Coatesville City Council President Ed Simpson, “All of this, All of this, is, the majority of it in my opinion is from a previous administration that we’re not going to discuss, we’re not going to bash…That everybody here has inherited. But I can tell you just for the first five months of this year, I feel so much better knowing that the numbers are more realistic and more actual than what they’ve ever been. And Ms. Bjorhus is largely responsible for that; because in the past we were never given any details. Just like the report that you’ve given us. We’ve never gotten anything like that.

I feel better knowing that we’re getting realistic numbers. We have a lot of departments that right now are over budgeted in areas, particularly the overtime in certain departments that we need to get straightened out. But we know about it. Now we know about it. We need to do something. We need to focus on it. It is a bitter pill to have to swallow…If we do this, we have to dot our I’s and cross our t’s. Every month we’re going to have to. Every month, not every quarter, every month, we’re going to have to. Just because if we start to see that we’re heading back in that direction we’re got to make some big decisions.

Karl Marking, “And it’s not personal, It’s just business.

Ms. Stacy Bjorhus’ report of the 2008 and 2009 budget audit progress:

“We had several tasks since opening September of 09 that were paramount to getting the 08 audit done. We were starting from square one in September of 2009. Basically we had to reconcile audit books to the 2007 ending balances that Barbacane had established for our ending balances. The fact that those were done in Pentamation and then we went to…and 4Gov it was very, very difficult.

We have now reconciled to those accounts, to those ending balances, per our opening balances. We have all of the bank accounts, all of the reconciliations done that tie up perfectly to the 06 starting and we’re comfortable as it goes.

The other insurmountable, what we found to be insurmountable, we’re still struggling with it: during this period also the general fund bank account had incorporated 3 different areas; payroll, the operating the checks going out and the revenues coming in. All three of those functions were in one separate bank account which made it very difficult to break out. They were separated at one point in time but getting opening balances for those 3 has been very, very difficult. We almost had to back into them.

The systems changes, we’re working through some bargaining issues internally where we are trying to reconcile the accounts. So getting opening balances for 2008 although in the fall we had tied to the 2007 ending, when we started to open the accounts with a fine tooth comb and a close eye we’re finding it difficult to actually get opening balances for those 3 accounts separately.

We have reconciled payroll to the book. We still have to match to the 931. That’s something we are looking forward to doing in the very near future.
We’ve reconciled the operating account which was a very tedious matter because of all the voids in the system. Because checks had been cut and then the money wasn’t there. The checks sat in the vault and had to be re-cut and transfers were sometimes made, transfers sometimes weren’t…

Reconciling the operating account was tedious and that in itself took several months. Denise, I believe worked on that and it involved maybe 6 weeks coming in 2 days a week. Now she is in working on the general banking account which is our depositing account and she is having some difficulty there. I think that Carol is now working in the department with us much closer and I think the 3 of us will be able to get a better handle on that.
But that is what slowed down Barbacane from coming in. Barbacane has insisted, ‘We want all of your banking accounts done.’

Raj has recently reconciled the accounts payable to from the old system to the new system, which was also very, very tedious. He had to build nearly every single…individually. So once we get this primary account done we will be in very good position. I’ve talked to Mr. Green about getting in and really getting not only the books on the payroll but also just doing the payroll account very, very closely. And once we do that I think we are going to be good to go. We are close.”

Ed Simpson, “What about a time frame?”

Ms. Bjorhus, “I’m hoping 10 days. I’m hoping we’ll get to it in 10 days…

Karl Marking, “Through 08 to 09 to start the audit?”

Ms. Bjorhus, “We’ve already started the 09 audit. We’ve already started the 09. But when they left they said we’ll be ready to go once you get those tests done.”

Coatesville City Councilperson Joe Hamrick, “That’s 10 work days…but I’m talking about our end of it, we’ll have it all ready within 10 working days.

Ms. Bjorhus, “I think so. I think so. 10 work days. I would like to think that we will be ready. Because once we get that general fund in shape the other tests we need to do the payroll reconciliation to the 941 that will probably bring us up to date… The 941 is what our W2s and our taxes are derived upon. So we’ll make sure that those are in order.
The other tasks are checking the contracts; the fixed asset list… each of those will take hours.”

Karl Marking, “Do you have any data at this point to have a sense of whether or not we’re going to be in for any surprises, to Mr. Hamrick’s earlier statement about additional short put ins…

Ms. Bjorhus, “Yes the 904 ending balance for 2008-2009, that’s un-audited; I’m expecting it to be closer to $500,000…Mr. Reed and I were talking about money that could be pulled into 2010 to fill any budgeting shortfall, I urge to keep it around $500,000, no more than that.”

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog - thanks for posting. Just wish we (the public) had the ability (for those who could not make the meeting) to watch this online.


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