Monday, September 14, 2015

Great News For Franklin County Elections Department

See the Secretary of State Special Review Report of the Franklin County Elections Department.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More news that was missed by the news...

Below is a copy of the comments I used to guide a discussion at the Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 in which I encourage the board to get an appraisal when expending $539,504 of proceeds from the sale of property to re-acquire property that had previously been sold by the County.  The board voted 3-0 to proceed with the purchase without an appraisal.



As Auditor I have concerns the settlement agreement approved on April 8th (2015-153)regarding the purchase of a property from CMV Holdings and Franklin County at the TRAC Complex may be a gift of public funds.  Several elements are needed to alleviate my concerns.  A private sector/objective market based appraisal of the property and an open public discussion on the public purpose of the purchase. The content of the discussion may raise additional questions.

Why am I interested?

The recent auction at TRAC piqued my interest in the “what” and “why” the county was making this move now.  My almost 27 years in real estate means I am just interested in this stuff.    I had missed a few meetings and attempted to use the public record to figure it out.  Needles to say it has been instructive.  I could not find a record of how you arrived at the purchase price.  And worse from the record I could not discern a compelling public interest in exercising the reversionary clause.  I want to alert the Board to a condition that would hard for you to know.  Due to the number of Exec sessions you had and the lack of public discussion in the records a citizen would not be able to tell what you did and, more importantly, why you did it.  That is why I am here to today. The public deserves a transparent open government and those of us in this room can deliver on that if we make it a priority; there would have been no way for you to know the county was failing on that point.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

News that wasn’t in the news.

August 11, 2015

Just a quick note, Franklin Count sold 3 parcels located in the TRAC Complex last week that yielded close to a million dollars to the County.   The auction was held at the TRAC facility with Musser Brothers Auctions conducting the sale.  The funds could add a new variable to what is possible if the  City/County discussion proposed below comes to pass .  The next 20 years should be bright if we are willing to do the work plan a path forward.

The Auditor’s office has been working with the new GM, Tom French to develop and implement the policies and reporting  recommended in the Performance Audit.

Editorial From Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thursday, May 8, 2014

TRAC Performance Audit RFP Draft Delivered To The Franlkin County Administrator

The RFP draft for the TRAC Audit has been delivered to the County Adminstrator for dissemination  and comment from the TRAC Advisory Board and City Council.  We look forward to moving this process to completion.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Auditor Recommendations for TRAC

Date:  4-16-2014 Franklin County Commissioner Board Meeting
RE:  Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton recommendations to the board regarding TRAC

Recommendations for the TRAC Center

The TRAC Center is a voter approved facility that provides for a variety of community activities. It was built by Franklin County and the City of Pasco in 1995. The relationship is governed by an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement (Resolution No. 94-126). The estimated revenues for 2014 are approximately 2.6 million dollars and has it always run at a loss. Our recommendations are in the area of accounting, compliance and reporting. Our recommendations further address the Franklin RV Park budgetary control.

In 2012 TRAC management self reported several conditions that needed to be addressed. As a follow up to those reported conditions when the 2012 Accountability Audit was being planned, the Franklin County Auditor’s office requested that the SAO conduct surprise cash counts across the county including our office, review petty cash handling and review the controls and policies of the TRAC ATM’s. The SAO report disclosed several areas that Franklin County can improve.

When the draft stage of the report became available to staff, January 2014, we were asked to help write some TRAC policies to address the pending findings. However after reviewing the submitted policies we believed the best approach was to develop more in depth recommendations:

1. Outsource the operation of the ATM’s a. It was clear that ATM operation involved too much complexity and risk to be done in- house.

2. Develop an RFP for an independent review of TRAC to present to the Commissioners a. TRAC’s financials and procedures could benefit from a review. We have developed a draft RFP for the boards review and input. TRAC management would benefit from confirmation of what it is doing well as well as recommendations for improvement.

3. Review the budgetary control of the Franklin County RV Park a. The RV Park is solely owned and operated by the County. TRAC is a City/County operation. The income from the RV Park is currently allocated to cover Franklin County’s responsibility for TRAC’s losses that occur every year. In a control environment budget authority is the primary control in assuring accountability. If TRAC desires to continue to receive revenue from the RV budget they should not have budgetary authority over RV as it creates a conflict of interest. In addition there should be a contract or memorandum of understanding (MOU) detailing the services and payment schedule of any services between the two budgets.  

We additionally recommend full compliance with the Section 9.1 of the Interlocal related to Oversight. While the section may seem cumbersome to efficient operation it fullfils a vital role of oversight review on behalf of the interested parties. We believe in addition to the recommendations above that a robust Advisory Board that is valued by management as a necessary function in its operation will result in better transparency and accountability. Additionally the reports and presentations that are created for the Advisory Board should be made available for public review. While TRAC has a broad community appeal and there are arguments for the economic activity it creates, it still loses money every year, so the public should have easy access to the reports on its operation.