Bloomfield school board approves audit report

Joshua Kellogg

BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield School District administrators say they are not concerned about 10 findings listed on last year’s financial report, explaining that increased scrutiny from a new auditor has improved the district's business practices.

The district's Board of Education approved the 2014-2015 school year financial audit during a Tuesday meeting after board members heard a report from their new auditing firm, Manning Accounting and Consulting Services LLC of Kirtland.

District Finance Director Anna Redding said the district is financially solid, and adjusting to a new auditor brings more scrutiny to the district’s operations.

“With a new auditor, you have little things they look at just a little (differently),” Redding said. “They are not doing it different in terms of the law, they have different ways of looking at things.”

Byron Manning, managing partner of Manning Accounting, presented an overview of the financial report during the board work session before the meeting. He told the board and district administrators that his firm is very thorough in its reports.

“We probably hold to the letter of the law more than most audit firms,” Manning said.

Of the 10 finding, five were listed as "non-compliance," four were described as "significant deficiencies" and one was noted as a "material weakness."

Redding said the biggest change the district made since reviewing the audit report stemmed from a "significant deficiency" finding, which concerned the segregation of duties in the payroll department.

Before, payroll department staff input new employee information and issued payroll checks and contracts without oversight from other departments. That system, the audit stated, could have allowed the department to create non-existent employees and issue them paychecks or increase employees' pay without authorization, though none of those actions took place.

Now, the district's human resources department adds new employees into system, and the business manager reviews payroll documents before they are approved.

Redding said the audit report also led the district to implement new policies in certain areas.

A "non-compliance" finding showed that district staff had not verified whether or not vendors that received contracts worth $100,000 or more had been suspended from receiving federal funds.

“There are quite a few things we have changed in our procedures in the district,” Redding said.

District employees also underwent training on bank deposits after a "significant deficiency" finding showed there had not been sufficient documentation on bank deposits to verify they were made within 24 hours.

Now, periodic audits will take place at district schools to ensure deposits are being made within 24 hours, according to the report.

Another "significant deficiency" finding prompted the district to institute a policy to require purchase orders for employee travel expenses. The report states the district previously did not enter purchase orders for travel because the final amount was unknown until an employee returned from a trip.

Superintendent Kim Mizell said she has worked in the past with Manning, who also sits on the San Juan College board, and said his reports are very detailed.

“To come out with as few (findings) as we did, for this big of a district, is very good,” Mizell said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.