CLARKSBURG - Selectmen will meet next week to review a June report that details numerous issues with the town's record keeping practices and recommends new practices.
Selectmen requested the roughly 30page Financial Management Review, created by the state's Department of Revenue (DOR)'s Division of Local Services, after town officials discovered financial discrepancies while creating the town's fiscal 2014 budget this February.
When asked for comment on the document Wednesday night, Town Administrator Tom Webb said he and Board of Selectmen have not reviewed the document as a group.
"We can't review it unless we do it during an open meeting," he said.
Selectmen will review the report at a staff meeting at 8:30 a.m., on Wednesday, July 17, Webb said.
The report in its entirety is available from the Division of Local Services website and will be posted at mass.gov/dls.
The discrepancies initially noticed by town officials were between the town accountant and treasurer/collector and led to the annual town meeting being delayed until June while the DOR worked to certify the town's free cash. Among the discrepancies were funds meant for other entities that were deposited into the town's general fund: $1,956.55 from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) intended for the Clarksburg Fire Company and $866.58 for the Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee.
The report does not list repercussions if town officials don't take action on the recommendations.
"Positive action on the recommendations ... can foster positive opinions of town government among residents and can lead to more effective financial operations," the report states.
Selectmen took a significant step in addressing financial issues at the annual town meeting on June 18, with a warrant article that permitted Webb to contract an accounting firm to conduct an outside audit.
"The failure of the town to contract for an independent audit means that its year-end financial statements have not been tested for accuracy since fiscal year 2010," the report states.
The report also recommends that Melissa McGovern and the town's accountant, Christa Marsh, receive further training on SoftRight financial software.
"Due to lack of training, the accountant was unable to close the town's books for FY2012 and roll balances forward to open the new fiscal year," the report states.
In addition, when accounting books were created for a new fiscal year, "rather than automatically rolling year-end balances forward, other adjusted starting balances were manually entered."
"Confidence in the town's records was further undermined when it was learned that the current treasurer/collector requested and was permitted access to the accountant's general ledger, apparently to adjust variances," the report states.
The report also suggests Selectmen Chairman Carl McKinney's position on the Board of Assessors may violate a section of the State Ethics Code. The report notes the State Ethics Commission interpretation of Section 21A of Chapter 268A states Selectmen "generally cannot be appointed to any position, paid or unpaid, that is both appointed by the Board of Selectmen and is under the supervision of the Board of Selectmen."
Other items of concern include: The annual town meeting warrant not being submitted to town counsel for review prior to town meeting; some people in the local government holding multiple offices; inadequacies in the formatting of the town bylaws; and a six-year term limit on the Finance Committee.
A recommendation that the town establish a website is already being implemented.