Lunch with the auditor a bad thing?

1. A formal examination, correction, and official endorsing of financial accounts; especially, those of a business, undertaken annually by an accountant.
2. A systematic check or assessment; especially, of the efficiency or effectiveness of an organization or a process, typically carried out by an independent assessor.
3. In computer programming: a process used to detect accidental input or processing errors as well as fraud, often using test data and special-purpose software.
4. Another aspect of computer programming in which a set of procedures are established to ensure the quality and integrity of a data base and to carry out such a process or procedure.
5. Etymology: from Latin auditus, “a hearing”; past participle of audire, “to hear”.

It now stands for the official examination of business accounts, which were originally oral or spoken. The verb is from about 1557.

OK folks, now that I let y’all in on one of the secret questions you must successfully answer to learn the secret handshake of becoming an auditor, namely that to verb “audit” and the term “auditor” are derived from the Latin word for “listening” and “hearing” let’s examine an alternative world, where auditors must work in silence and are not allowed to ask questions:

Fillingame disagreed with Atkinson’s report in a telephone interview shortly after Thursday’s meeting.

“I read the report and was shocked at the amount of inaccuracies and the amount of very flawed details within the report,” Fillingame said. “It was obvious that a lot of the facts that were supposedly presented were taken from conversations and not drawn from the documents. Really, some of the more serious (accusations), and I’m very concerned about that.”
Fillingame said any information the council required has always been available at city hall, and any problems were due to a lack of manpower to duplicate and deliver the information.

I can understand Hizzoner’s confusion because he was not in attendance when Sam Atkinson, Director of the Office of the State Auditor’s Performance Audit Division, presented her office’s report on the causes of the many well documented problems contained in the FYE 9-30-2014 municipal audit report performed by the firm Wright, Ward, Hatten and Guel.  In its simplest terms the performance audit is a report on an audit report.

To the extent the Performance Audit Division owes its origins to what I’ll term an auditing fad dating from the 1990s it would follow it is not the same type of engagement as an audit in accordance with GAAS and GAGAS.  This explains why Ms. Atkinson is well qualified to run the Performance Audit Division because she is a Mississippi Governmental Finance expert rather than a CPA although her division has several on staff.  Hizzoner and the City’s finance department employees could certainly have benefited from training Atkinson gives at events like MML and that is really what the performance audit process is about, improving performance by pinpointing the root causes of the problems so corrective action can be taken.

The bottom line is Ms. Atkinson’s report highlighted the root causes of the financial and managerial dysfunction at City Hall, where one day Mayor Fillingame is telling Stacey Cato at the Seacoast Echo he lacks the manpower to walk documents across Main Street to the City Council chambers while a few days later tells the City Council he does not want to hire a qualified City Clerk, which is exactly what he did last night.  The reason the Mayor did not like the Performance Audit report is that he was held accountable for failing to follow state statute thus the waxing nonsensical above.

There is nothing wrong with not possessing the ability to manage money or an organization for that matter as it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round. The failure lies in not letting competent employees do their job.

Last night’s big news to me is Hizzoner not wanting to hire a new City Clerk after burning through three clerks last year in fairly short order exposing two of the three to personal legal liability in the process.  The City’s books are a disaster, it had to bring in an outside CPA firm to belatedly close FY 2015 and the 2015 audit will certainly again be late. Instead we were treated in comments to a reference to last night’s public comment section of the recessed meeting, where resident Joan Coleman of the special interest group Les Lovers United chastised Councilman Lonnie Falgout for eating lunch at Dempsey’s with former Mayor Eddie Favre and Sam Atkinson of the Office of the State Auditor.  According to Lana Noonan of the Hancock Alliance for Good Government, Falgout disclosed that Henry Winters, spouse of Councilperson McDonald was at the next table and Mr. Winters was evidently fairly obvious about trying to listen in on the lunch banter.1

Speaking of eating lunch, a reader sent me pictures of Councilperson McDonald eating lunch with Trent Favre and Henry Laird about a year or so ago.  That picture did not appear on Slabbed because it was not deemed newsworthy, even if the meeting occurred at a time when the current City Attorney was having a hard time obtaining professional liability insurance. Such are the calls one makes in publishing.

We have a contingent of financial professionals and CPAs that read this website so the question is, can an auditor eat lunch with a client?  If the answer is yes (even IRS auditors will eat with their auditee provided no benefits are exchanged i.e. “dutch”) to me professionally the better question is should the auditor make a point to eat lunch with the employees of an auditee?  I’ll kick start things by saying my answer as absolutely yes but that is one man’s professional opinion.

1. Mr. Winters is allegedly obvious in certain of his real estate transactions involving the local Habitat for Humanity, where his spouse, Councilperson McDonald is the executive director.

17 thoughts on “Lunch with the auditor a bad thing?”

  1. Excellent piece. Reminds me of why, after attending hundreds of Council meetings, I stopped going. Since Less and his council were put in place, everything happens between meetings and in exec session. No transparency at all.
    Has Eddie declared to run again already?

  2. McDonald not only has her husband under her employ, she has her son.
    But who would know since they all have different names-
    McDonald, Winters, and Rupp. Wonder what Henry uses as an address??!!

    1. She has to use the name McDonald, the citizens associate that to get her elected. Who would vote for Wendy Winters?? You don’t think she would get elected on her Merits? She has to hire her family, it is obvious they can’t get work at other places, although I do know Rupp used to do contracting while working for his mother. Wonder if her was on her payroll while he was out doing other jobs?? Now Henry has his Broker’s License. Wonder how many deals he does through his company for Habitat? or How many he buys personally, knowing locations of interest, and sells to Habitat for a profit?? Heard from sources this has happened in the past. And you wonder how she can have the morals and merits to make important decisions on the council that Benefit the Citizens and not her own agenda.????

  3. Fact : This Clown Breaks the Laws Thousands of times & it’s everyone’s fault but his & his Jokers.
    Fiction : It’s the 3 stooges fault for asking questions & trying to get a grip on the problems.
    Fact : They crashed the party & no one told them all they had to do is sit back , shut up , collect a check & let this Idiot mayor bankrupt the city.
    Fact : I’m Amazed some of the Citizens are so Blinded by his BS & Accept all the Lies from mayor Clown. Some are even church goers & I think it states You Should Not Lie.
    Fact : They still want to blame the 3 Amigos because the Clown & Jokers Can Not tell the Truth & everything continues to unravel around them.
    Fact / Fiction : The report stated no criminal findings & the big change in the administration. Way to early to tell!! Dog & pony show ?? Last night’s meeting for example.
    Criminal / Civil / Ignorance , we will see. You be the Judge
    Fact : Checks Illegally signed , only One signature , signatures May Not Match
    , Failed Drug test covered up , signed affidavits with False information sent to DOJ , on & on. Criminal ?? You be the judge.
    Fact : Remember this report was only from six months.
    Gotta Go
    Thanks , F&F

  4. Mr. Winters has enough skeletons in his closet he has no business getting involved in anything. Birds of a feather flock together. He and Wendy are exactly that. Perfect match !
    Too bad he can’t get a job on his own without his wife. Surprised the City hasn’t offered him a job. Oh wait, he doesn’t really want to work, that is why he works with Wendy, or used to???
    He better pay attention to his own affairs and quit trying to listen to other people conversations.

  5. Oh
    Fact / Fiction : heard a councilman at last night’s meeting ask about a secret meeting in Jackson to discuss the findings in the audit. ( les , don , David , Katherine ) clown & jokers ) Would think some of the council should be present to hear this!! Of course They denied knowing about it. Wanna take bets weather this happens or not ??
    Fact : Meeting of the Idiots ( clown & jokers ) at the clown’s house going over city business before last Thurs. Nights meeting. All the city financial information laid out & at least Two Outsiders discussing & looking at all the city information. Not city employees or bonded !!! LEGAL ???
    Fact : Mayor , Attorney & Wendy present with them letting this happen. LEGAL?????
    And this clown locks up file cabinets in city hall with bars.
    And a few yahoos are worried about lunch among friends. Fact : They will do Anything to Distract from the Truth!!!
    And we wonder why we have problems.
    Fact : The so called Truth Group formed a few months ago , They Can’t Handle the Truth. They are the main ones that Accept his lying BS & put the blame on the 3 stooges / amigos. Wonder Who’s in bed with Who???? One Master !!!
    Had Enough of this BS !!!!!!!!
    Thanks Again , F&F

  6. Another entertaining free concert by Lyin’ Lesbo and the Lackie 5 at the always full BSL arena…..

    Heck, the Gulfcoast need not worry bout’ losin’ concerts due to Miss.LGBT legislature bill protecting freedom of religion, as Lyin’ Lesbo and the Lackie 5 will done bee playin’ fo’ free fo’ many mo’ years to come…

    Forget bout’ requestin’ dem to play “Purple Rain”,”When Doves Cry” and “U Got the Look”; maybe mo’ like “BS Rain”, “When Citizens Cry” and ” We Got the Book” (i.e. faux financial book).

  7. I feel that we are now on our way to getting our finances straightened out. There may be some casualties along the way. Too bad. Responsible people weigh consequences before the act.

    I have, from the beginning, thought once the State and Fed got involved it would be fixed. The Court of Public Opinion got it going now I feel it will go to a Legal Court of Opinion.

  8. I am not saying any of the upper crust elitists from BSL are innocent but I would highly question anything that Pickering’s Gang produces. They are highly likely to conceal the truth and withhold information to protect some people while bagging innocent victims.

  9. Is this a joke?

    Apparently, Gautier needs a new city manager (among many, many other things) and according to the story, “The four candidates are:

    Former Jackson County attorney Paula Yancey
    Gautier businessman Phil Torjusen
    Former Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre
    Former Southeast Mississippi American Red Cross director Paige Roberts”

    I have no idea who Phil Torjusen is, but he sure as hell can’t have much success as an (honest) “businessman” if he wants to be the interim city manager of Gautier, MS. Assuming the story is accurate, Yancey and Roberts cannot possibly have honorable intentions toward this, especially considering that Dogan and Wilkinson’s “Gautier office” is already the city attorney and temp city manager. Perhaps someone here can provide some clue as to what Eddie Farve’ intentions might be.

    For those that don’t know, Paige Roberts was involved in yet another tawdry Jackson County sex scandal involving her then-boss, somewhat-connected GOP Red Cross director Mark Everson, which led to his need to find a new career. And just because nothing down there is plain ol’ scandal, her (ex?)husband is/was a judge in Jackson County as well as a lawyer and he was also mixed up in the Bordis fiasco.

      1. Apparently, it was not a joke. Well, it IS a joke, albeit a sad one, but it’s true:

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – why is it that every time something iffy and rampant with conflicts of interest happens in south MS, the same names turn up right in the middle of it.

        If anyone cares about this, look into the connections between Yancey, Dogan and Wilkinson, Dogan and Wilkinson’s “Gautier office” and city attorney for Gautier Joshua Danos and ex Jackson County judge Chuck Bordis, the whole SRHS fiasco, the non-existent and likely never-will-be Gautier Walmart, Mark Cumbest and other assorted Cumbests, etc., etc.

        It would probably be easier for folks on the coast to simply put their wallets, purses, checkbooks, ATM cards, pensions, car titles, property deeds and kids’ piggy banks in a pile, let these troughhogs take what they want and hope there was at least a few drops of slop left when they got through feasting. Or call the US Department of Justice (“the FBI”) and raise royal hell about it all.

  10. Keep in mind Davey the part time clerk worked part time for Wendy…. Think Jimmy needs to look at her books??????

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