Those of us who have spent some time in local government know January is "Auditor" time. The group of "number nerds" who love to read through mountains of paperwork and apply various math and banking techniques to ensure money flow in and out of the municipality is correctly accounted for. Personally, I always looked forward to their visit as I had a lot of confidence in our checks and balances and the honesty of our employees. Uniquely most auditors do not feel the same way. My observation has been that they come in two types, elected, and appointed single independent auditors. Here is what the Pennsylvania 2nd class code says about an auditor. I haven’t listed the entire sections here, so please research it further on your own if you want to know more.
Section 404. Auditors. (a) Except when vacancies create shorter terms, at each municipal election, the electors of each township shall elect one auditor to serve for a term of six years from the first Monday of January after the election. Auditors shall reside in the township from which elected and shall have resided in that township continuously for at least one year immediately preceding their election.
Section 901. Township Auditors; Meetings; Duties; Quorum. (a) The board of auditors shall meet annually at the place of meeting of the board of supervisors on the day following the day designated by this act for organization of the board of supervisors, and they shall organize by the election of a chairman and secretary. The board of auditors shall audit, settle and adjust the accounts of all elected or appointed officials of the township and its boards or agencies that received or disbursed funds of or owing to the township during the immediately preceding calendar year.
Section 902. Auditor's Compensation. (a) Each auditor shall receive ten dollars ($10) for each hour necessarily employed in the duties of the office upon presentation to the board of supervisors of an itemized listing of the dates, times, places and hours worked to perform the audit.
I am happy to report that under my leadership, we never had a bad auditor report, but at times I felt as if the office was being unfairly scrutinized. My advice: Take any suggestions they give you for checks and balances and use them to improve your financial operations. As a manager, you'll want to review all flow of money in and out daily, and don't forget to document everything. After all, it’s audit time, and you should "fire this thing up" and be ready to open your books and answer some tough questions. Remember – It’s all about accountability. And that’s good for your municipality and the taxpayers.
About the Author
David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 32 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at email@example.com. To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.