Island accounting firm will audit recent property appraiser office activities

Indian River County Property Appraiser Wesley Davis, in keeping with his promise of increased transparency and accountability in his office, has hired barrier island accounting firm Rehmann to audit his agency’s financial records from the Oct. 1, 2018 start of the fiscal year to Jan. 7 when Davis was appointed to the job.

Davis told the Board of County Commissioners that Clerk of Court Jeff Smith recommended the “stub” or interim audit to work in conjunction with efforts of a citizens’ audit committee to study the operations of the property appraiser’s office.

“It’s just to make sure if there is anything, we remedy it and move forward,” Davis said. “We don’t anticipate finding anything, it’s just something that prudence would suggest as far as proper fiscal management.”

Smith emphasized that the audit would be limited in scope to a financial review of only the “stub” period, as the 2017-18 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018 had already been audited. “It was my opinion that we didn’t need to do an operational review; his transition committee could handle that very well with the expertise that they’re assembling.”

According to the $8,500 agreement with Rehmann, auditors will look at payroll records, employee reimbursements, disbursements over $500, budget-to-actual variances, and the top 10 vendors of the agency. Auditors will also be spot-checking all the bank statements looking for anything that looks out of the ordinary. This will allow Davis’ team to learn from any mistakes of the previous administration and start with a clean slate. “Of course, anything after Jan. 7, I own,” Davis said.

Davis took over for property appraiser David Nolte, who died in office after heading up the agency for 38 years. Before his death, Nolte had recommended his long-time deputy Sissy Long for the job, but Gov. Rick Scott opted to appoint Davis, the former county commissioner who challenged Nolte for property appraiser in 2016.

So far, Indian River Shores Vice Mayor Bob Auwaerter, CPA Glenn Heran, Berkshire Hathaway Broker-Associate Chip Landers and beachside attorney Dan Stump have enlisted in his citizens’ oversight group, Davis said.

Comments

Flo March 19, 2019

Imagine that….a county office opening themselves up for inspection and transparency! If only the school district would take note of this!!
If you listened or watched the latest board meeting of March 12, 2019, it’s apparent from Merchon Green’s comments during citizens input, that the school district is being less than forthcoming in due diligence with records. However, rather than “own the problem”, Chair person Laura Zorc chastised Ms. Green rather than promise to get to a resolution like several other board members. Obviously, Mrs. Zorc has never done a public record request from the district. It can be very frustrating and you must be very specific. Even then, many times you’re told the records do not exist. I can completely understand Merchon Green’s frustration and Mrs. Zorc should be chastising her staff, not the messenger!

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