Tourism Bureau approves final
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[June 24, 2016]
- On Monday evening, the Logan County Tourism Bureau Council met for
their June meeting. Councilmen present for the evening were Ron
Keller, Steve Parrott, Chairman Sal Pollice, Gail Sasse, and Shawn
Taylor. Renee Martin and Paresh Patel were absent for the evening.
Among the items on the agenda was the final approval of the audit
reports prepared by Kerber, Eck, and Braeckel of Springfield.
At the May meeting of the council, the audit had been presented as
complete, and a management letter had been issued to go with the
audit. While reviewing the auditor's management letter, the council
became concerned about the mention of deficiencies that were noted
during the audit. The letter mentioned the deficiencies, but did not
spell out what they were, or how serious they were.
It was decided then that Tourism Director Maggie McMurtrey would
contact the auditors and request a new letter that spelled out the
This week, McMurtrey reported that she had done this, and a new
letter was issued that listed the three deficiencies.
The first deficiency dealt with the staff’s inability to supply
certain financial documents. At the April meeting of the council,
bookkeeper Tina Simpson had been on hand and explained there were
six invoices with a total dollar amount of approximately $3,000 that
the current staff could not locate. At that time Steve Parrot asked
if the auditors were concerned about this. Simpson said it was a
small issue, but that considering the audit was for a total period
of 18 months; the auditors did not feel this was a red flag for the
The second deficiency was similar. The staff could not produce an
original document outlining the policies and procedures of the
Bureau during the audit period, which was July 1, 2013, through
December 31, 2014.
The third deficiency dealt with the regular preparation of financial
documents during that 18 month period.
McMurtrey said she had a discussion with the lead auditor and had
asked how serious these deficiencies were in the eye of an auditor.
She had been told that these were not ‘red flag” issues, and also
that these types of deficiencies are “typical” to the audits
performed by the firm.
McMurtrey told her council she had taken the conversation one step
further, asking the auditor if the firm were coming in for the first
time and seeing this audit as something someone else had prepared,
would they have any immediate concerns about the Bureau. The auditor
had responded that the current audit would raise no concerns for her
and her firm.
McMurtrey said with those questions now answered, she would ask the
council to approve the audit as is so that the official document
could be prepared. She said that if the council still had questions,
the auditors had said they would be happy to attend a meeting and go
through the audit with them.
Keller and others indicated that they didn’t see the need to have
any additional discussion on the matter. Keller moved to approve the
draft, and the second came from Taylor. The motion passed 5-0.
Parrott also asked if the issues that were brought up in the
management letter were now being addressed so this would not happen
again. McMurtrey said they were. She said that she was also going to
be asking the council to approve a new audit policy. She said she
would like to change the audit process from an event held every
three years to an event held annually.
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McMurtrey said some of the biggest issues she had with this audit revolved
around the fact that she and Tina Simpson were attempting to provide information
for which they had no firsthand knowledge. The Bureau had gone through several
staff changes between the first of 2013 and the end of 2014. Neither McMurtrey
nor Simpson worked for the bureau during that period, which made it difficult
for them to provide what the auditors wanted.
She said if audits were done annually, there would be a better chance that
Tourism staff could answer questions based on personal knowledge. McMurtrey was
asked if annual audits would be more expensive. She said yes, but not
significantly considering the extra cost that was involved in doing the current
audit. She noted that the audit for the 2013-2014 18-month period was going to
cost the Bureau about $16,000.
She noted that the auditing firm had agreed to allow the Bureau to pay the audit
partially from this fiscal year and partially from the next fiscal year.
She added that the bureau had saved some money over the past three months
because the Logan County Alliance was not fully staffed. She said there was no
event coordinator, and right now there is no office assistant. The LCA is
instead utilizing an intern at no charge. This will help make up for the extra
cost of the audit.
McMurtrey also shared that for this year, the LCA has decided not to charge the
Tourism Bureau for any portion of the President/CEO salary, which will save the
bureau several thousand dollars this year.
Keller asked about the audit request from the city of Lincoln, was the city
still pursuing this. McMurtrey said that she had asked the city not to start an
independent audit until the Bureau audit was completed. She said it was her
understanding that the city would review the audit by Kerber, Eck, and Braeckel,
and then determine if they wanted to move forward with an additional audit.
Parrott confirmed that the city was waiting to see the Bureau documents. It was
discussed that the official audit should be delivered to the city as quickly as
possible after it is received.