Danville's auditor hired as financial consultant

April 13, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Craig Butler, who has been Danville's auditor, was hired by city commissioners Monday to be a financial consultant.

His contract is for no more than $29,000.

Butler criticized the city's financial record-keeping in the 2002 -2003 audit, calling the finance department "a rudderless ship."

Mayor John W.D. Bowling said hiring a consultant would save the city $30,000 -$40,000 because it would not immediately hire a finance director. Steve Winfrey, former finance director, said he resigned under pressure from city management in December 2003.

Commissioner Terry Crowley said he believes the city will still need a finance director. City Manager Darrell Blenniss, who was not with the city during the period that was audited by Butler, said he will review the position and the department with Butler.

Butler told commissioners earlier this year that the city's financial statements were riddled with errors, partly because it spent months without a bookkeeper, had a finance director who wasn't qualified and no city manager. Butler charged more than his usual fee for auditing because he said he had to do bookkeeping.


Audit findings

Among the audit's findings were:

* Millions of dollars in transactions were never posted.

* $330,000 in deposits never recorded.

* Purchase orders mocked up after items were bought, and in some cases never signed or signed and approved by the same person.

* The auditor observed a "substantial" amount of cash left in plain view and unattended on city hall's front counter. No money was missing.

Steve Biven was forced to resign his position as city manager in April 2003. Long-time bookkeeper, Fran Pendygraft, retired that same month.

No bookkeeper was hired. Those duties were left to Winfrey.

At the time the audit was released, Crowley said that the Commission should take responsibility for the audit because commissioners refused to fill positions in the finance department.

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