Sunday, April 19, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

County calls grand jury report on finance department outdated

By
From page A1 | May 03, 2013 |

Issues raised about the county finance department in a grand jury report released Thursday were deemed outdated and in some cases, inaccurate, in a response from the county.

The report, “Yolo County Financing: Tracking Changes,” noted that there has been considerable change in the functions of the county finance department during the past few years and that changes are ongoing as the county transitions to an appointed finance director.

But the grand jury also found issues in a number of areas, including bank reconciliations and financial statements not being completed in a timely manner; new accounting software that has created a need for staff training; an audit of financial staff that shows a need for finance training and staff certification in accounting; and “widespread problems in staff morale, resulting from supervisory demands, staff cuts, lack of communication, dismissal of complaints and favoritism in many departments.”

The grand jury investigation coincided with significant changes already underway, including as a result of voter approval of Measure H last fall, which will eliminate the elected office of auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector in favor of an appointed director of finance. The transition — effective January 2015 when current auditor-controller Howard Newens’ term ends —  will combine the fiscal functions currently performed by the county administrator’s office with those of Newens’ office, which includes most countywide accounting, auditing, collections, cash management and investment activity.

Newens said Thursday that while the grand jury report raised some valid points, “the information was outdated because they finished the investigation in January and a lot of things transpired in the first few months of the year.”

For example, the grand jury said the board of supervisors audit committee had not issued a request for proposals for an external auditor. However, Newens said, an RFP was issued in March with a recommendation for an audit firm scheduled to go before the board on Tuesday.

Efforts are also underway to increase staff competency with new financial and payroll software and both the county’s tactical plan and the county’s long-term financial planning efforts are focused already on many of the issues raised by the grand jury, Newens said.

“I just wish they had contacted us for (an update),” he said.

Meanwhile, other aspects of the grand jury report were criticized as inaccurate.

For example, the report raised questions about the board of supervisors’ audit committee — composed of two county supervisors and one private individual — saying the committee “had no financial expertise.”

However, county spokesperson Beth Gabor said the private member, Kathleen Stock, “has been a member of the audit committee since (2011) and has an MBA and finance work experience.”

As far as bank reconciliations and financial statements not being completed in a timely manner, Gabor said while the reporting may be untimely, it has not been statutorily late and no penalties have incurred. Newens added that the county has steadily reduced the delay in reporting and that all bank reconciliations are now current.

The delays, as well as the reports of low staff morale, likely have the same cause, Newens said: In the past four years, his staff has been reduced by one-third, and not all of the staff remaining possess the skills needed for the job.

“We require staff with analytical skills,” he said. “(But) previous job specifications … did not focus sufficiently on analytical skills and were geared mainly for employees of the past where processing transactions was the main responsibility.

“Now, problems need to be solved analytically, and since we don’t have the right kind of staff, staff with the right skills, in many instances there is more work pushed on the people who can do it. But our (human resources) department is the in the process of upgrading staff skills.”

As far as employees reporting a “perceived disparate treatment of non-degreed fiscal employees,” as the grand jury found, Newens said that, too, may be the result of changing skill sets needed for the job.

“We need an accountant with a four-year degree,” he said. “That’s the type of skill that we need. But the reality is the human resources system didn’t require that. It’s a discrepancy between our true needs and the civil service requirements. (And) we are trying to resolve it internally, either (by) redoing our job specifications or reconstructing our career paths so it makes sense.”

It’s all part of the long-term financial planning, he added.

“All of these are valid issues,” he said of the grand jury’s recommendations, “but we have done many of these already and a lot of things are in progress.”

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

 

 

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City wants a study of sewer rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Art helped sell California’s agriculture

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Garamendi hosts conference for women

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Get some advice at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Free gardening advice offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Grad Night tickets on sale online

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

     
    NAMI group offers family support

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

     
    John Cole cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

     
    Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

    By Our View | From Page: B6

    Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

     
    Leash your dogs; it’s the law

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

    Speak out

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

     
    Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Sports

    Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Obituaries

    Jody Zewe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Herman Timm

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Robert Leigh Cordrey

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Alice Catherine Micheltorena

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8