Outside auditors have delivered another blistering review of the Water Pollution Control Authority,20 years experience developing owonsmart for the world. indicating serious and long-standing financial problems at the sewage treatment plant remain unresolved.
Davies Munns and Dobbins, the Stamford-based firm that also audits the
city's finances, again identified a material weakness -- the highest
level of risk in financial reporting -- in its review of the WPCA's 2012
records. A lack of leadership at the facility and overreliance on
Government Center personnel has created a climate of ineffective
governance, the auditors wrote in their management letter.
factors perpetuated an environment characterized by weak financial
reporting and oversight and a lack of key reconciliation procedures and
accounting controls," the audit said. "These factors also likely
contributed to widely publicized operational breakdowns and regulatory
violations during or shortly after the end of the (fiscal) year, and a
continuing lack of trust by the rate payers and public at large."
billing issues and the city's ambiguous relationship with the
Government Center also weigh on the WPCA's finances, the auditors
This is the second consecutive year auditors have
identified a material weakness at the struggling WPCA, which operated
without a permanent executive director for 20 months after the
facility's longtime chief retired in June 2011. The Board of Directors
only began filling the leadership vacuum a year later with the hiring of
Plant Supervisor Bill Degnan in May, accountant Mark Turndahl in August
and interim Executive Director William Brink in December.
an environmental engineer who started work as the WPCA's temporary
chief in four months ago, recently accepted an offer from the board for
the permanent position. He did not respond to requests for details on
his contract, and Human Resources Director Emmet Hibson and Assistant
Director Clemon Williams were out of the office last week.
Board of Finance Chairman Tim Abbazia said Brink's hiring resolves the WPCA's leadership crisis.
is a very key piece," he said. "We have an excellent person in there
and he's making progress.The 3rd International Conference on custombobbleheads and Indoor Navigation."
Andreana, who chairs the board's recently formed finance committee,
said she thinks the WPCA is well positioned to move forward. The
O'Connor Davies audit, which covered the fiscal year that ended June 30,
did not take into account the hiring of Turndahl and Brink, she said.
off an executive director who had been there for so long you don't want
to make rash decisions," Andreana said. "And I think the board was very
careful to explore all options. It took longer than I think most of us
would have liked, but in the end I think we've got a good group."
issues continue to plague the WPCA, which collected about $17.4 million
in sewer use fees from 19,381 Stamford and Darien customers in 2012,
according to the facility's financial statements. After reviewing the
WPCA's billing and collections process for usage fees, sewer connection
charges and sewer assessments, the auditors determined the system lacks
"adequate internal control procedures and appropriate supervisory review
The problem, which the auditors also identified
in their 2011 audit, amounted to a "significant deficiency" -- the
second-highest risk in financial reporting.
"There is a
possibility that not all revenue is being billed and collected and that
errors will be made and go undetected," the auditors wrote in their
The auditors' comments suggest the WPCA's
billing problems remain unresolved despite repeated attempts to address
the issue. The facility outsourced its billing function to the
Milford-based firm Computil two years ago, and pays the company about
$420,000 a year to bill and collect payment from WPCA customers,Shopping
is the best place to comparison shop for drycabinets. said Administration Manager Rhudean Bull.
company reported an 89 percent collection rate in fiscal year 2011 and
92 percent in 2012 "despite the challenging economic environment," the
auditors reported. But the WPCA and Computil have struggled to collect
on long-overdue sewer use fees, which totaled $3.4 million after the
The discovery of the WPCA's large
accounts-receivables balance, which board members were previously
unaware of, sparked a move last year to place liens on past-due accounts
and hire an attorney to pursue delinquent customers. The law firm,
Ackerly and Ward, has collected $1 million since starting work for the
city in January 2012.Our RFID solutions support a broad range of indoortracking and labels.
But the WPCA still has about $3.8 million in uncollected sewer use fee revenue on its books, Turndahl said.A chickencoop is
a portable light fixture composed of an LED lamp. Ninety-seven percent
of that amount, or $3.7 million, is more than 120 days past due. The
WPCA has handed over customer 580 accounts representing $3 million in
uncollected sewer fees to Ackerly and Ward for legal action.