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Auditors Cite Numerous Problems in West Deptford's Annual Audit

Representatives from Holman & Frenia detailed nearly three dozen issues they found in their audit.

Amid complaints of uncooperative township employees and $20,000 in cost overruns, auditors Holman & Frenia hammered West Deptford with 34 different issues stemming from their audit of the township’s books.

Ranging from the serious—a lack of a general accounting ledger—to the silly—an issue with a magazine subscription—the auditors admonished township officials for what they said were issues that opened up to potential fraud, without actually finding any instances of fraud.

“You should all be concerned,” auditor Keith Ingling said. “Your township funds can be stolen.”

Ingling particularly harped on the lack of a general ledger—a problem he said goes back at least as far as 2007—saying it not only complicated the audit process, but flies in the face of what’s required.

“This is not just a suggestion—this is a state statute that you are not in compliance with,” he said.

Ingling was particularly concerned with the risks presented by the lack of a general ledger, among other problems.

"We’re not saying that there is fraud," he said. "There is a significant opportunity for fraud."

Otherwise, Ingling and fellow auditor Mike Holt detailed the problems their firm found, including, but not limited to:

  • Informal payment plans are in place for water and sewer charges, as well as property taxes.
  • Legal bills are split 65 percent and 35 percent between the general fund and the water and sewer fund, regardless of the breakdown of legal work.
  • There's a need to review the township’s Payment In Lieu of Taxes programs.
  • Two employees’ salaries are being charged to the Open Space fund, without documentation establishing whether that’s acceptable.
  • Township committee meeting minutes don’t have page numbers. “We want to make sure there’s not the opportunity for someone to come in and slide a page into the minutes,” Holt said.
  • Two employees out on medical leave didn’t contribute 1.5 percent of their pay to medical benefits, as required by the state.
  • The water and sewer billing system is so outdated, bills have to be manually adjusted using a typewriter.
  • One water and sewer employee had his water meter read just three times in six years, and only paid the minimum for much of that time; when a meter was put in at the curb, Holt said, about $1,000 in charges were realized. “We just let the customer read the meter,” Ingling said.
  • Three accounts with Fulton Bank using the township’s tax ID number are actually for outside groups.
  • Current township policy only requires a single stamped signature on checks, with the stamp being held by someone besides the director of finance, whose signature is on the stamp. Holt recommended two signatures, and not allowing the signature stamp to be used by anyone besides its owner.

But more work needs to be done to close out the financials and then check to make sure there isn’t fraud, Ingling said.

“We’re not even to the point yet that we can, with 100 percent comfort, say that we’ve completed the financial statement audit,” he said.

With that in mind, committeeman Sam Cianfarini, who called the audit, “miserable,” moved to bump Holman & Frenia’s contract with the township to delve deeper into the audit, which was approved unanimously.

With the $20,000 in overruns plus additional costs, it puts the contract with Holman & Frenia, which has already donated money to this year’s Republican campaign, up to a max of $103,000.

Bryan Littel (Editor) June 18, 2012 at 06:06 PM
While it's true Budd's his niece, it was a blind selection process - high school administrators narrowed down the list, gave Cianfarini six essays minus the students' names, and the decision was made from there.
J J Evans June 18, 2012 at 07:21 PM
ok so 6 essays were submitted to Sam Cianfarini and he just so happened to pick his niece. If there wasn't so many discrepancies in his past statements and behavior I may believe this, but giving the way this man conducts himself that is just too farfetched. And I agree with the prior statement that this town has become an embarassment since they took over.
Sandy Wagner June 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Before you change your mind about Sam and Ray do some more investigating. I think you will find that you have it all wrong. Someone has given you some bad information. This township is very fortunate to have two men who have given of their time to make this township a better place to live , both for you and me , and for their own families. I know they are not in this for any personal gain, far from it. I think people forget these men are good people. And no, I am not a relative, just someone who knows these good men. Give them time to turn things around. I don't think you will be disappointed.
vinnie boombatz June 18, 2012 at 09:12 PM
you don't see them on fox news being interogated for anything dirtbag. you people that critisize these two gentleman are disgrunted because the regime is coming to an end real fast. just wait in two weeks when the real information comes out the dems will be moving out of town because of pure embarassment. heads are going to roll it will be like vj-day in this township the democrats in this town will be sinking faster than thoses hapless phillies. GO NATIONALS LOVE THAT TEAM
Bill Bondar June 18, 2012 at 09:30 PM
J J Evens, I'm thinking that you were never really a Republican. You must be a Democrat. Real Republicans would never say that about Sam and Ray. I know them as fine upstanding gentlemen. You should be thankful someone is willing to stand up and try to help the township while doing a thankless job.
Jason Zepperhed June 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I think it is nice that Sam gave a $1000 scholarship to his niece. She had a great career at WD and I wish her all the best in the future. Who were the other recipients of the $1000 scholarships. Didn't he say he was giving the $5000 stipend to scholarships? Who are the other recipients? If Chintall dontated his as well there should be 10 scholarships.
Bruce Ruffian June 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I think it was nice of Sam to give a $1000 scholarship. Who were the other recipients of the scholarships Sam & Ray were donating to the high school? There should have been 9 others correct?
Bryan Littel (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 01:00 AM
As reported back in April, it's a $1,000 annual scholarship for now: http://westdeptford.patch.com/articles/salary-cut-for-west-deptford-township-committee-members-passes-5-0 Chintall awarded his to Danielle McKeown.
Former Auditor June 19, 2012 at 02:00 AM
As a fomer internal auditor I agree with the comments posted by Eric. A forensic audit may not even be able to put all the pieces together if cash is involved and accounts unreconciled. Tis amazing in today's computer age..............
Sandy Wagner June 19, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Bryan , thank you for showing these nay sayers that Sam and Ray did just what they said they were going to do. They are men of honor.
Rick Riley June 19, 2012 at 10:05 AM
No Sandy, what they promised to do was to donate their entire 5k salary to scholarships not 20% of their salary. Does anyone know if the other $8000 is being awarded like they promised?
joe baur June 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I have lots of questions. how often are audits required? when was last audit? what were the results of that audit? how can an audit be done without a GL? is there an issue with twp. audits elsewhere in NJ?
redneckwillie3 June 19, 2012 at 01:09 PM
bryan,what happened to the remaining $8000.00 if it's an annual event for now does the remaining money sit in limbo.
Bryan Littel (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 01:35 PM
They indicated it's going to be a long-term scholarship fund, meaning the rest of the money is going somewhere it can earn interest.
redneckwillie3 June 19, 2012 at 01:57 PM
it seems to me they are not living up to what they initially stated before election time. this you know is going to start a lot of controversy. just want to know,proof in the pudding
redneckwillie3 June 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
is this 1000 over a four year period or just a one shot deal that would be a total of 4000
Bryan Littel (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 02:16 PM
It's $1,000 per year for as long as they can fund it.
redneckwillie3 June 19, 2012 at 03:32 PM
then they are not living up to their promise that the entire salary would go towards a scholarship come ray & sam live up to your word.that was one of your campaighn promises. $1000.00 just about buys books for a semester $5000 would have been the right thing to do.DISAPPOINTED GUYS
Ron Burgandy June 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
dude, read the freakin comments above. are you blind? both committeemen donated their ENTIRE salary to the school, which will disperse of it over time. this is being WISE and FISCALLY responsible with donated scholarship money... something you dumb liberals don't know about. get a grip dude and learn how to read.
Mr Caspers June 19, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Are we really supposed to believe Sam didnt know it was his niece? Gimme a break. We should also have the auditors monitor this scholarship fund because it sounds awful suspect. It will probably go to friends and family every year. Bryan, did you read today's times? Any comments on the blatant lies by Mark Cimino?
Bryan Littel (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Working on a related piece on that today.
redneckwillie3 June 19, 2012 at 09:14 PM
first of all how do you know they were lies no proof either way let's wait and see what they actually dig up. beside you really gonna believe that weasel G WHITE.he's one of the biggest crooks along with norcross and sweeney. sit back and enjoy the show it could get very interesting especially the information that's coming out in 2 weeks. el wingador might be getting company
Ron Burgandy June 20, 2012 at 01:46 AM
you should call the high school and find out for yourself. better yet read the earlier comments, Bryan already clarified that.
Sandy Wagner June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM
If you would listen to Bryan and check the article he wrote stating the facts on the scholarship you wouldd not be so misinformed. Check the facts and save us from your negativity. Let's make this an intelligent forum, that I am sure it was intended to be, for the citizens of West Deptford. Sam and Ray did not have to do the scholarships, but they did They already saved the taxpayers many thousands of dollars taking a salary cut and eliminating health care for the committee.
Gene Zosling June 20, 2012 at 01:04 PM
They should re-name the scholarship to "the cianfarini family fund".
Occupant June 20, 2012 at 01:38 PM
How about the "Zosling Democratic Lackey Payback Fund:
WDNeedsHelp June 20, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Please visit www.wdtruth.org and you can view all the Township financial reports.
WDNeedsHelp June 20, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Do you understand what a scholarship is???? The lump sum is put in a fund and annual payments are made out of that fund to the selected recipients. That scholarship could last for decades if invested and donated to properly. Obviously you did not attend college.
WDNeedsHelp June 26, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I love how the article that trashes the previous administrations handling of the finances goes off the cliff and discusses a $1000 dollar scholarship. Lets stick to the points at hand, why are there SOOOOOOO many issues being found by the auditors? This is looking more and more like outright theft and less like incompetence if you ask me. Lets start calling the State Attorney General and start demanding an investigation. http://www.nj.gov/oag/phone.htm
Perro Grande July 02, 2012 at 10:55 PM
has anybody reviewed the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for West Deptford?

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