Century’s Financial Audit Late For The Fifth Straight Year In Violation Of State Law

August 16, 2019

The Town of Century’s Annual Financial Report is late in violation of state law for the fifth straight year.

The legal deadline for submitting the Annual Financial Report, often referred to simply as an audit, to the Florida Department of Financial Services is June 30. But after a series of missteps, the town did not even hire an auditor until early June.

The town council has a workshop scheduled for Tuesday, August 20 at 5 p.m. to review the audit findings for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

At a June council meeting, Mayor henry Hawkins said he had still not hired the auditing firm because he disagreed with a price increase, but primarily because the council had not given him the necessary approval to sign the engagement letter, which is a type of contract with a CPA firm.

Council President Ann Brooks said the council had previously voted to accept the increase and authorize the mayor to sign the agreement.

“They voted to accept, but they did not authorize me to sign it,” Hawkins said.

Mayor Never Received Authority To Hire Auditor

At their last meeting in May, council members learned that the auditor disagreed with claims by Mayor Henry Hawkins as to why the audit had not started for this year, and the council learned for the first time publicly that the town had yet to sign an agreement to hire the auditing firm.

A check of a NorthEscambia.com audio recording of the May 20 meeting confirmed Hawkin’s claim that the council did not give him approval to sign off on the auditor’s contract.

“Can we have a motion to authorize our auditor to proceed with the audit at a minimum fee of $30,000?”,  Brooks asked during that meeting. The motion was made by council member Ben Boutwell to pay the $30,000 fee to the auditing firm, up from $21,000 last year.

“I would think you have to vote to authorize the mayor or the clerk to sign the engagement letter,” accountant Robert Hudson advised the the council.

“Any other questions before we vote?”, Brooks asked. The original motion was not amended before being passed unanimously after several minutes of discussion and did not give the signature authority to the mayor.

“Let the records show that we’ve decided to take $9,000 from CTA (funds received from the town’s Capital Trust Agency partnership) and put it with the $21,000 budgeted for the audit,” Brooks said after the May 20 vote.

Why Didn’t The Auditor Start Months Ago, And Why The $9,000 Fee Increase?

Century’s annual audit will cost thousands of dollars more due to several factors, including a scathing grand jury investigation, and the mayor tell did not inform the council for weeks, as NorthEscambia.com learned and first reported in May.

The town was informed in an April 8 email sent to Mayor Henry Hawkins, Town Clerk Kim Godwin, and town CPA Robert Hudson that the auditing firm Warren Averett was increasing their fee from $21,000 last year to a minimum of $30,000 this year.

Hawkins repeatedly told the town council that the firm would begin the audit after tax season, but he never mentioned receiving any communication from the auditor or the $9,000 fee increase to the council. In the meantime, the audit did not begin due to a lack of an engagement letter.

But an email obtained by NorthEscambia.com shows Hawkins forwarded the auditor’s email to Chief Deputy Clerk of Finance Kristina Wood on April 9. “FYI,” Hawkins wrote. “Now where do they think we’re getting the money from?”

CPA Kristen McAllister of Warren Averett said in a May 20 email to Town Council President Ann Brooks, “I do not think you have been informed correctly. I reach out to the Clerk, Mayor, and Robert (Hudson) a month ago to discuss a change in the audit contract before we can begin.” She added the delay “did not have anything to do with waiting until after tax season”.

McAllister said the higher audit fee was due to concerns over the utility billing cycle, concerns noted in the grand jury report, incorrect information provided that required multiple adjustments in the past two audits and a failure to follow the audit timeline.

For a previous story with details on the March grand jury report, click here.

Century’s Late Financial Report Submission History

Century’s last five audits were submitted to the state as follows:

  • The 2016-2017 report due June 30, 2018, was completed August 10, 2018.
  • The 2015-2016 report due June 30, 2017, was completed October 31, 2017.
  • The 2014-2015 report due June 30, 2016, was completed February 15, 2017
  • The 2013-2014 report due June 30, 2015, was completed November 17, 2015.
  • The 2012-2013 audit was completed on time on June 30, 2014.

NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

14 Responses to “Century’s Financial Audit Late For The Fifth Straight Year In Violation Of State Law”

  1. Ruth on August 16th, 2019 8:34 pm

    Nothing will happen to them. What has the new manager and auditor done? NOTHING. What will happen if they are late with the audit?NOTHING. What happens when they are basically bankrupt because of mismanagement by the Gas Dept? NOTHING What has been done to get this “town” on track and make the do their jobs, and do them legally? NOTHING. So, what is Century and the residents worth? NOTHING!

  2. Bewildered on August 16th, 2019 10:47 am

    Why should they change the way they conduct business? Nobody cares what they do and there are no consequences whatsoever. Carry on!

  3. mq on August 16th, 2019 10:44 am

    If the state has let it be late for this many times, blame the state for allowing it. Once is a mistake, after that it is negligence on both of them.

  4. IMHO on August 16th, 2019 10:40 am

    And? Nothings happened for five years, why bother changing this year. As long as Century provides the needed demographics for the CTA all is good.

  5. Just me on August 16th, 2019 10:29 am

    So, 5 years in a row??? Hummm, Mayor Hawkins hasn’t been in office that long. So, it’s not just this administration that is to blame…just my observation. Why wasn’t fingers being pointed previously?? Guess it was ok then.

  6. bob on August 16th, 2019 10:18 am

    How can these stupid idiots show their face in public? Do they have any self esteem or personal pride?

    Mayor Henry Hawkins only tells the truth when his lips are not moving.

    I would not believe anything that Mayor Henry Hawkins says before or “after tax season”.

  7. Mr. O on August 16th, 2019 10:17 am

    It’s quite obvious that Century’s leadership is seeing how much they can get away with. They are purposefully defiant and are proving to the State of Floroda that the “rules don’t apply” to Century.

  8. bailout on August 16th, 2019 9:50 am

    Maybe the feds will come in and do a bailout for century. They did it for GM so why not? Then we could have a whole town run by the feds. Can’t get much worse management than that!!

  9. Jail Time on August 16th, 2019 8:51 am

    Does the name Ray Nagan ring a bell to anyone..this Mayor is a repeat of him…he was the Mayor of New Orleans that’s now in prison …somebody better do something soon!!!!!!!

  10. David on August 16th, 2019 8:31 am

    Our Florida legal system is just as defunct for as many years to let this happen…jail time gets people’s attention…Including our legal oversight participant’s who are getting paid to NOT do their job. I will petition for an audit of the oversight in Florida…this is enough

  11. w.w. on August 16th, 2019 8:09 am

    …. need to get up out of them there comfy chairs and go to work….

  12. Alan on August 16th, 2019 7:56 am

    Why the State does not revoke the city charter is beyond me.

  13. sam on August 16th, 2019 7:28 am

    What more needs to be said about the towns leadership? there is none.

  14. SW on August 16th, 2019 2:29 am

    Century.





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