San Bernardino City Hall

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 10/23/15 – 7:25 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The city at last has a letter from its independent audit firm on whether its financial statements are accurate, but Friday evening it still hadn’t received the full audit — two days after it was last promised, and more than a year and a half after the state deadline.

That’s according to Deputy City Manager Nita McKay, who said the letter was a big step.

“It’s basically what you pay for,” she said Friday. “It’s the signed letter from the auditors, and what you’re hoping for is an unqualified opinion, which means there’s nothing they need to disclose. Last year (for the 2011-12 audit) there were two comments, and they’re the same comments again, about successor land held for resale … and then, because we’re in bankruptcy, they add a paragraph about that.”

Audit firm Macias, Gini and O’Connell LLP had said the audit likely would be ready Wednesday. Then, according to McKay, they said it would be ready to present to city administrators and a selection of elected officials on the audit committee Thursday. They had the letter at that meeting, but they promised to email McKay the remainder Friday, she said.

The status of the city’s audit has been politically contentious, but receiving it was a big step, said Councilman John Valdivia, who was at that audit meeting with Jim Godsey of MGO.

“He didn’t really come out with any headlines on it, but this is good, if in fact we have the findings and we can read through it and ask better questions in public,” Valdivia said. “When we have open, transparent government I think we’re a better city for it, and it’s a win for our entire public.”

No one has publicly opposed the publishing of the audit, which is legally required, but the quick tabling of a scheduled update fed into some residents’ suspicions.

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