News Column

Luzerne County Council committee will discuss status of 2013 audit next week

June 6, 2014

By Jennifer Learn-Andes, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

June 06--Auditor Andrea Caladie is scheduled to update Luzerne County Council's budget/finance committee Tuesday on the status of the 2013 audit.

The committee requested an update because the audit is due June 30 under the home rule charter, and the 2012 audit had been released more than nine months after the deadline.

Officials also are eager for update on the county's financial books because the last audit concluded the county spent $7.4 million more than it brought in during 2012, resulting in a net $3.7 million shortfall after $3.7 million carried over from 2011 was factored in.

Caladie works at ParenteBeard LLC in Wilkes-Barre, which also completed the 2012 audit.

Tuesday's committee meetings start at 5:30 p.m. in the council meeting room at the courthouse.

County Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz recently said he had to retain a temporary worker from Accountemp to assist with bank reconciliations and other work because he's down to two budget/policy analysts. The analysts didn't have time to prepare financial paperwork for the outside auditor because they have been busy with reconciliations and processing payroll while the lone payroll clerk has been out for health reasons, he said.

Two positions have been vacant since the end of January: a deputy budget/finance director position last held by Donna Magni, who was terminated for undisclosed reasons, and the senior auditor position Swetz held before he was promoted to division head.

The staffing situation should improve because Swetz has hired Sue Ellen Crawford as senior auditor at $46,000. She started work today. The payroll clerk also is expected to return to work shortly, he said.

The county is paying $26.25 per hour for the Accountemp worker with no benefits and the option to stop the service at any time, Swetz said. Savings from not filling the two vacant positions will be used to cover the cost of the temporary worker, he said.

The administration has blamed the lateness of the 2012 audit largely on the need to compile additional information never included in prior county audits.

Caladie set a June 16 deadline for the county to turn over all data needed by her audit team.


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Source: Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

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