Proposed Accounting Change Further Explained in Monday Commission Meeting
By Kristin Forbis, Apr 6, 2021
Uintah County Commissioner Bill Stringer took time following the regular business items of Monday’s Commission meeting to revisit an agenda item from last week’s meeting that elicited push back. On Monday, March 29th, the Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting included an agenda item titled, ‘Deliberation Concerning The Process of Implementing the Provisions of Utah Code 17-19A-205 Accounting Services’. According to the approved meeting minutes, Commissioner Stringer stated that moving the accounting services out of the Clerk-Auditor’s office is allowed by state statute but at that point was just being brought up for discussion. While Stringer mentioned that there were issues they were concerned about, it was not clear what those issues were. Following Commissioner Stringer’s introduction, opposition and questioning was shared by Clerk-Auditor Mike Wilkins, Treasurer Wendi Long, and at least 6 others with the common question of what a move in accounting does to the system of checks and balances of who will be watching over the county government. During this period, Commissioner Stringer confirmed that there is a current investigation underway involving the Clerk-Auditor’s office. On Monday, April 5th, after the regularly scheduled Commission business was complete, Commissioner Stringer took some time to offer further explanation and background on last week’s discussion. First, he read the duties of the Clerk-Auditor and emphasized that the answer to who will watch over the county remains the Clerk-Auditor. The power to perform audits of every office and entity in the county remains with the Auditor with just one exception, the audit of their own office. Second, in regards to the argument that the accounting needs to be handled by an elected official, Stringer stated that it is not a person but the law that stands between the county, public and any kind of problems with finances. “The law is what protects all of us,” he concluded. Finally, Stringer clarified that the part of the investigation that prompted the consideration of moving accounting services has to do with lack of transparency and questions over payments to the Utah Retirement System since 2017. The entire meeting audio from both meetings can be accessed through www.pmn.utah.gov.