By Sue Moore
“The audit report by Siegfried Crandall for the fiscal year 2015-16 on the village of Vicksburg’s books was a bit unsettling,” said Bill Adams, village president. “Most of their recommendations are now in the rear-view mirror as we have reviewed them and implemented better internal controls with new policies and procedures.”
“All of the monies are accounted for and secured in the proper fund accounts. We want to be transparent and have taken a series of steps to protect our community and the village council. It is rare for a governmental entity to implement fixes even before the audit comes out,” he said.
Steve Bryer, the Siegfried Crandall vice president who presented the audit to the village council in February, said it was a “clean audit” with the general fund in pretty good shape, considering the deficit the village had in 2013 when Adams became president.
However, the report cited ten recommendations that Bryer felt compelled to bring in front of the council for action. They include the following along with the actions taken in response:
• Recommend that the village consider an outside firm other than its auditor to prepare routine financial statements. This is being evaluated in light of the possible increase in costs. Such reports in many local governmental entities are prepared by staff members.
• Bank cash reconciliation was not done right. This was rectified in November of 2016 with the council approving the checks and balances policy between the village treasurer and clerk.
• The village was in non-compliance with its payroll taxes and reporting. New staff and accounting software are in place to assure compliance with federal and state filing requirements.
• Journal entries were not effectively monitored. A policy was passed in January to ensure proper procedures over preparation, review and approval of journal entries.
• Dual check signatures at Angels Crossing need to be in place. The council passed a policy in January that dual signatures would be required on all checks. The golf course has implemented a system for electronic payment to vendors.
• A conflict of interest policy is needed. Such a policy was adopted at the council’s December meeting.
• The DDA needs to be sure that all money spent is for public purposes. In January, a purchasing and procurement policy was passed to ensure a formal requirement is in place to ensure proper controls.
• A written policy for the sale of capital assets is needed. The council approved a policy for asset sales and dispositions at its January meeting.
• A policy is needed to justify free golf for course employees and contractors. A golf memberships and fees policy was implemented at the January meeting to ensure that procedures are in place to authorize, approve, and monitor Golf Fund revenues.
• No more expenditures for goods and services prior to village council approval should take place. In January, the council approved a procurement policy for goods and services expenditures in accordance with state guidelines. The village manager does have limited discretionary up to a certain amount to spend without prior approval.
“Many of the recommendations have been put in place and the rest will be by the council meeting of April 17,” according to Village Manager Jim Mallery.