In a report made public this week by the office of the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, accountants said “we are not aware of any material modifications that should be made to the financial statements in order for them to be in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.”
The review was performed by Goolsby and Fix Certified Public Accountants in Sylacauga, and apparently completed in March 2013.
“Our review was made for the purpose of expressing limited assurance that there are no material modifications that should be made,” Goolsby and Fix said in a cover letter accompanying the review.
County Commissioner Jimmy Roberson requested an audit of the authority’s books in June 2012 in the wake of rumors and questions about the board’s salaries, health insurance, paid holidays and vacations and bidding procedures.
Contacted Monday, Roberson said he had not seen the report, but he was pleased to hear that the books are in good order.
“I haven’t ever said that I thought there was theft of funds,” Roberson said. “My biggest concern was over the authority’s extravagant procedures and policies. Most of those have been corrected now,” Roberson said.
He said he became concerned about the board’s practices when it approached the Talladega County Commission requesting a raise for board members. As he started asking questions about the board’s operations, Roberson said, he learned that the board was paying 100 percent of employees’ medical insurance, giving 18 paid holidays per year, and allowing the manager to use his water authority truck for personal business.
Former authority manager Johnny Tubbs has retired and been replaced by interim manager Janet Akin, and some board members have been replaced, Roberson said, and policies have been changed. Employees now pay a portion of their health insurance, at least four of the paid holidays have been cut, and there are now limits on the personal use of authority-owned vehicles.
Another issue that Roberson said led to his request for an audit was the sale in April 2012 of a 2007 Ford pickup truck with approximately 75,000 miles on it. The authority declared the truck surplus and sold it by sealed bids. Tubbs’ son, Josh Tubbs, bought the truck for $5001, one dollar higher than the next highest bid of $5,000 from Terry’s Used Cars.
The amount of the winning bid was seen as suspicious, according to a letter from the Talladega County Commission to the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, and county officials also questioned why Josh Tubbs and Don Blair, son of the board’s then-chairman, Doug Blair, were allowed to bid on the truck. The letter said Josh Tubbs later had the truck advertised for sale priced at $9,000.
“I don’t think a board member or manager’s family member should earn a profit at the taxpayers’ expense,” Roberson said.
“(The board) never should’ve accepted a bid from a board member’s or a board manager’s relative. That has been corrected,” he said, explaining that the authority has updated its rules on selling surplus property so that relatives of board managers or directors will not be allowed to bid on items in the future.
According to the balance sheets reviewed by the accountants, the authority had total assets of $3.32 million as of Dec. 31, 2012, and total liabilities of $1.59 million. The authority had total sales of $643,450 and total operating expenses of $527,798. The authority operated at a net loss of $15,203 in 2012. Still, there was an increase in cash on hand of $5,598 at the end of the year, from $591,396 at the start of the year to $596,994 at the end.
DA’s Office reviewed
The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts also issued a report Monday on a review of the books of the Office of the District Attorney of the 29th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Talladega County, for the period of July 1, 2009, through April 30, 2013.
“Tests performed during the examination did not disclose any significant instances of noncompliance with applicable state or local laws and regulations,” the report said.
Contact Bill Kimber at email@example.com