State Auditor Commends Arrigo Administration's Audit Practices, Declines Council Request
November 9, 2018
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump notified Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo that her office will not undertake an audit of the City's finances that was suggested by the Revere City council in August.
Following her department's review of independent audits by firms retained by the Arrigo Administration, Auditor Bump stated in an October 28 letter to the Mayor "...the audits already performed seemed to do an excellent job of evaluating current operational conditions and making recommendations aimed at improving controls over City operations."
Mayor Arrigo was satisfied with the Auditor's conclusions. "I am glad, but I am not surprised," the Mayor said. "One of my first objectives when I took office was to obtain an independent and comprehensive assessment of the City's financial conditions and procedures. We did that, and we are taking recommended steps to tighten procedures, streamline and simplify the public's interaction with the City, and maintain a clear scrutiny of all the city's finances. This is an ongoing practice and my idea of what good government is all about."
The Mayor pointed out that a department-wide audit by the accounting firm CliftonLarsonAllenLLP, which Auditor Bump's office reviewed, uncovered more than two million dollars sitting in dormant municipal accounts dating back nearly 20 years. "That was a pleasant surprise," said Mayor Arrigo. "And we found it because we took the initiative to conduct the audit. On top of that, we retained a firm that frequently works with the State Auditor's office in government audits. Auditor Bump's statement endorses in every way the very measures that I felt were necessary to get a handle on Revere's finances."
The CLA audit also revealed lax practices that spawned a further audit focused solely of the Parking Department. The parking audit by the firm Roselli, Clark & Associates, which Bump's office also reviewed, documented steadily declining parking meter revenues since 2012 and urged both personnel and procedural changes, which Arrigo promptly implemented. "Since July, when we began to implement practices recommended in the Parking audit, parking meter revenues are nearly $27,000, which indicates a substantial revenue increase over entire recent years. And we anticipate even greater revenues when new parking meters are installed very shortly." Mayor Arrigo said.
The City Council considered a motion in August that the State Auditor conduct a "top to bottom review of each department in City Hall for the period of 2014-2018" That motion was tempered to request the Auditor provide only a "cost estimate" of such audit.
The State Auditor questioned the breadth of the Council's request, calling it "too broad...for us to estimate its costs." She concluded, nonetheless, even if a cost estimate could be provided, "it is unlikely that [her] office would be able to accommodate a request to undertake any desired audit work [themselves]."
Mayor Arrigo said he will continue to request audits as needed and implement the recommendations that the CLA audit. "I appreciate that the Auditor's office can offer technical assistance as we may require, but I concur with her comment that Revere will be better served by focusing our resources on implementing the CLA recommendations."