CPA drops Presidio County as client

PRESIDIO COUNTY – Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara opened Wednesday’s Commissioner’s Court meeting announcing that Certified Public Accountant Doak Painter won’t be performing the county’s audit for the fiscal year that is about to end.

Painter is finishing the 2017 audit, but told the judge, that she should advertise for requests for proposals for an auditor, because, “I am not going to audit this next year.”

On Wednesday, Painter said by telephone that he has told the court that they need an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for grant management. “The fact that they got rid of OMB, I am not going to go backwards.” Mr. Painter and his late father, CPA Dan Painter, both have been auditing the county for many years.

“In the years with my father, grants were a problem. By dissolving OMB, in my mind they are going back to the way they were and I’m not going there.” The Office of Management and Budget was established by Commissioner’s Court several years ago as a result of bad audits the county had received, including an adverse opinion audit. On top of that, District Judge Roy Ferguson appointed an internal auditor position to help with the county’s lack of accounting abilities.

Katie Sanchez was the OMB director, and the office was abolished by Commissioner’s Court during their August 22 meeting. At the same time, OMB administrative assistant Jeannie Hall tendered her resignation.

“She was doing a good job,” he said about Sanchez, who has since gone to work for the sheriff’s office. “If she had a question she would call me and ask me for advice. I appreciate that of my clients.”

Commissioners have budgeted for a new position, someone to help with grants and pick up where Sanchez left, even though the reason for abolishing OMB they claimed was because it was a duplication of services since they had an internal auditor and because there also is the county treasurer. Commissioner Loretto Vasquez, who placed the item on the agenda to abolish the office said it was a cost-saving measure.

“They take Katie out of that position, now we are hearing that they are hiring someone to do grants. It takes at least six months to get to learn a new job, the labor pool is limited and bringing someone to run the grants, I don’t see that happening efficiently. I am not going there,” Painter said. “I know what it took the past five years,” he said of getting the county on a better footing with grants. “Figure things out, it’s not what I want to do, not the direction I want to go.”

A recurring problem noted in past audits is the bank reconciliations not being done on time or not being done. Painter noted that the reconciliations are still not being done on time.

He also noted that county is in line to receive a $3.3 million to $5 million grant for improving the county’s two airports, in addition to other law enforcement grants like Stonegarden, which is apparently being accepted by the county.

Receiving a grant in the $750,000 or more range requires the county to file what is called a single audit, an audit of the grant monies.

“You build this airport and if you fail your single audit, its testing your contract with the government, a contract that says we are going to abide by the rules and controls and if you don’t, you have to pay that money back, $3 million payback and the county is bankrupt.

I’ve talked to them for years and years and they go and get rid of OMB, that was grant management,” Painter said.