Opinion

An audit is a good way to start a morning | Some Perspective

Is it just me, or does anyone else get a little excited when they hear the word “audit?”

Checking my email Monday morning, I was happy to find a notification from the Washington State Auditor’s Office saying a new audit report had been released.

The report was from an audit recently completed on Town of Coupeville.

Audits are great for journalists as a way to report on entities and help maintain transparency.

They are also a great tool for those entities to ensure they are following the proper procedures and utilizing public funds in an appropriate manner.

Coupeville is audited every two years.

Mayor Nancy Conard said she was disappointed to learn the town had a finding after going so many years without.

But we live and we learn.

The issue raised in the audit was how the town chose to pay employee bonuses in 2011 and 2012.

In both those years, employees were paid a lump sum of $1,200 each.

A total of $36,000 over two years.

The auditors office said the payments were against state law because they were seen as additional pay for services already rendered.

Had the town paid $100 each month, the issue might have been avoided.

While the town thought they had done their due diligence in checking with the town attorney and the auditor’s office prior to making the payments, there was some confusion in the learning process.

The town responded to the audit professionally and has learned from this experience.

It’s a very important task managing public funds and there are a lot of rules and regulations.

That’s why it’s important to have agencies like the auditor’s office checking in from time to time.

So for those of you who dread hearing the “A” word, pause and think about what an important role they play in our consitutional process.

 

 

Megan Hansen is editor of the Whidbey Examiner.

 

 

 

 

 

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