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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Village Board Again Votes To Hire Forensics Audit

Issue Date: January 23, 2019

After an hour of discussion in closed session on Thursday, Jan. 17 with Village Attorney William J. Vande Castle and no one else present, Pound Village Board returned to open session before unanimously approving two motions aimed at getting an outside audit done for the village.

According to minutes prepared by Trustee David Navis in response to a request made by Village President Terry Earley prior to the meeting, the first motion was "to hire Sikich LLP to do a forensic audit and for (Village President) Terry Early to sign the contract." The second motion called for the "Clerk/Treasurer to give full cooperation to all auditors employed by the village board."

Only Vande Castle, Earley, Navis and trustees Mary Meyer, John Homontowski and Jerry Rogge were present for the meeting.

Navis' minutes state that following votes on the two motions there was discussion regarding payment for the audit, which Earley said would have to be decided at at another meeting. Vande Castle said the village needs to authorize moving of funds from one line item to another in the yearly budget. The minutes go on to say that Vande Castle told them after elections in April each year, starting in May, Village employment starts. At (the) May board meeting the president appoints by motion who does what: Dog Catcher, treasurer, clerk, public works etc. It designates who each person is. Committees are also authorized by motions. Committees only make reports and recommendations to the board. These are voluntary positions with the only person receiving pay being the elected trustee. One person of the committee must be a board member. "It is a great way to get citizens involved," Vande Castle told the committee.The special board meeting had begun at 6 p.m. and adjourned at 7:23 p.m. Notice was posted on Monday, Jan. 14. Agenda listed:"Closed Session per WI State Statute 19.85 (e) Deliberating and (c) Considering employment.

"A. Sikich Financial Audits

"B. Clerks Duties

Open Session per WI State Statute 19.85 (2) and possible action on items discussed in close session."

The motion to hire Sikich that was approved at the special meeting on Jan 17 was something of a repeat of a motion approved by three to two vote of the Village Board at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 7. Motion at that time, made by Navis and seconded by Earley, was to hire Sikich to come and do a financial audit for two years - 2013 and 2014. Voting in favor were Navis, Earley and Homontowski. Opposing votes were cast by Meyer and Rogge.

Navis said after that meeting he was notified by Clerk/Treasurer Patricia Schutte that the vote to hire the outside audit was not valid because it had not been posted on the agenda.

Kevin Schutte told the Peshtigo Times in a phone conversation after publication of the news report on the Jan. 7 meeting that the vote would be void not due to lack of agenda notification, but due to a requirement that any contracts or purchases for the village costing over $10,000 must go out for bids.

Disputes over the issue began at the start of the Jan. 7 meeting, when Navis objected to the agenda because there was no provision for the report or motion he wanted to make. He said that well in advance of time to post the agenda he had asked Schutte to include his report on a League of Municipalities seminar he had attended on finance, fraud and audits, along with a motion he wanted to make in that regard.

There was no mention of that on the agenda, but after Schutte told him he could give his report under the heading of New Business he agreed to leave the agenda as it was.

When time came for his report Navis stated he had learned a lot from the seminar, and felt the village was much in need of better internal controls. Earlier in the meeting he had called for more detailed financial reports, and that they be provided to board members with time to study them prior to the monthly board meeting. A regular audit being done by Auditor Joel Rennie of Johnson & Rennie is underway but so far 2017 has not been completed.

During discussion at the Jan. 7 meeting Meyer stated several times that when an audit is complete the auditor should come to the Village Board in person to explain findings and recommendations.


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