Friday, August 3, 2012

Sun Valley:Forensic audit almost done

Long-awaited document expected on Aug. 20

Express Staff Writer

Dewayne Briscoe

A forensic audit commissioned by the city of Sun Valley in early April is now expected to be completed on Aug. 20.

"We have light at the end of the tunnel concerning the forensic audit," Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said during a special City Council meeting Wednesday.

The city retained Boise-based law firm Moffatt Thomas in April to oversee the audit. Moffatt Thomas in turn contracted the Seattle office of Newport Beach, Calif.,-based accounting firm Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro.

The audit was commissioned by the city after allegations of misconduct and poor accounting practices surfaced last year at City Hall, prior to Briscoe's taking office. In the meantime, the employment contract with the then-city administrator was terminated, the city clerk and treasurer have been paid tort-claim settlements and resigned, and the city fire chief has been out of office on administrative leave.

Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro began the audit on April 18. It was originally expected to be completed by June 30.

< "Once you start an investigation like this, you find one thing that leads to another and so on," Briscoe said. "It takes time to get to the bottom of it all."

In an interview, Briscoe said city officials wanted "a citywide audit, not just an investigation that cherry-picked certain departments."

Briscoe said he communicates with Moffatt Thomas and Moffatt Thomas talks to the auditors.

The city originally paid a $10,000 retainer fee to Moffatt Thomas, part of which Moffatt Thomas used to hire the auditing firm. Virginia Egger, interim executive assistant to the mayor, reported in an email to the Idaho Mountain Express on Thursday that sums paid to Moffatt Thomas have reached $79,593. She said the city will be billed an additional $36,724 for the next payment cycle.

Briscoe said the auditing firm is no longer requesting documents from the city and is in the process of writing a report.

"It's been long and it's been thorough," he said at the meeting. "The council wanted a full report, not just looking back, but looking forward."

Briscoe said that once the report is complete, the City Council will decide whether to release it to the public.

"My opinion is the people paid for it, they deserve to see it," he said.

Brennan Rego:

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