December 22, 2010 5:26 PM
Brooke Edwards

VICTORVILLE • The city isn’t saying yet whether it’ll stick by its auditor, Mayer Hoffman McCann, in the wake of a scathing review from the State Controller about how the firm handled the city of Bell’s audits.

“MHM appears to have been a rubber stamp rather than a responsible auditor committed to providing the public with the transparency and accountability that could have prevented the mismanagement of the city’s finances by Bell officials,” State Controller John Chiang said in a statement released late Tuesday. “Had MHM fully complied with the 17 applicable fieldwork standards, it would have led them to identify some — if not all — of the problems my office has uncovered since August.”

Eight officials from the small Los Angeles County city of Bell have been charged with misappropriating funds in the months since media reports first revealed exorbitant salaries for city staff and council members. However, MHM has given Bell clean audit reports since 2006.

Victorville rehired Mayer Hoffman, which audited the city’s 2005-06 financial records, to complete an audit that was already four months overdue in May 2009 .

The move came on the heels of a delayed and highly critical review of Victorville’s 2006-07 financial statements by auditors Caporicci & Larson. That firm declined to even issue an opinion on the city’s finances, stating Victorville had “not maintained adequate internal control and accounting records.”

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