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City News

Posted on: October 1, 2015

Beachwood Receives Excellent Audit Opinion from State

No findings for recovery; No issues found with pool pass distribution

Beachwood, OH – October 1, 2015– The 2014 State Audit Report for the City of Beachwood contained no findings for recovery or non-compliance citations. As part of the audit, the Auditor further explored issues including the Mayor’s issuance of swimming pool passes and a host of other issues.

The audit indicates that the City was either rightfully conducting business within the guidelines of its policies and procedures or has already addressed issues raised in a prior audit. The audit report and a management letter from Ohio Auditor Dave Yost were released earlier this week.

“The Administration and Council have made several adjustments in recent years, and we have respectfully complied with past recommendations from the Auditor’s Office,” said Beachwood City Council President Fred Goodman. “But the City has also been maligned by a steady stream of attacks and allegations that have been overblown or have simply been without merit. We are pleased by the audit and related review, which confirms what we’ve been saying, and will continue to focus on serving the community.”

The Auditor’s Office issued a management letter which addressed nine issues that had been raised with them, and made no recommendations for changes on all but one – involving the use of City meeting rooms by organizations not conducting City business. The Auditor noted that practice – which was promptly stopped when an ordinance governing use of city rooms was brought to the City’s attention – could potentially interfere with municipal business.

The management letter included a breakdown of other issues they reviewed that had been brought to the Auditor’s attention. The following issues that were alleged by some to constitute some sort of wrongdoing resulted in no citations or internal control recommendations by the auditor:

· Pool Passes – The Auditor’s response noted that City ordinance allows the Mayor to distribute pool passes.

· Motorcycle Bids – There was an allegation that the City improperly followed procedures involving bids to replace Beachwood Police Department motorcycles. The Auditor notes that the City received two bids and the lowest bid was selected.

· Cell Phone Bill –The Auditor did not note any issues with the use of the Mayor’s cell phone and noted that the Mayor, like other City employees, is given a monthly allowance and is taxed accordingly.

· Travel - The Auditor's letter does not find improper travel as alleged and points out that the Mayor was not reimbursed for any overnight travel or per diems in 2014.

· Vacations –The Auditor examined vacation allegations and noted the Mayor did use vacation and his payout was for unused vacation time, which had been questioned.

· Incentive – An allegation was made that an outside company was inappropriately given a $75,000 incentive. The company never met City requirements and thus never received the $75,000.

· Wedding Gratuities – The Mayor’s acceptance of gratuities for performing wedding ceremonies was questioned. The auditor wrote that City Council in 2015 eliminated language that allowed the Mayor to accept such gratuities.

· Public Records Laws – The Auditor also reviewed the City’s adherence to public records request laws. The Auditor said the City has the necessary logs and support information to comply with public records requests, but also noted that a letter was sent to the City earlier this year that criticized the City’s inability to locate records showing which City workers had received pool passes.

Mayor Merle S. Gorden said he welcomed the Auditor’s review of the various issues.

“We’ve had to deal with a lot of distractions this year, but I’m proud that our excellent municipal workforce has continued to provide our residents and our businesses with superb City services,” he said. “It has also been gratifying that Beachwood continues to be awarded the highest bond ratings, which means our City is a solid financial investment. We’re doing a lot of things right, and I’m proud of our work.”

Click to view Management Letter