Langley fixes Washington State Auditor’s Office finding

A state audit finding for the City of Langley has already been addressed and corrected.

Debbie Mahler, clerk and director of finance for the city, said she promptly made changes to the city’s process for reviewing receipted state and federal grants. The Washington State Auditor’s Office published a finding Feb. 1 that dinged Langley for improperly reporting federal expenditures on a document called the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards.

“Other than that it was a super clean audit,” Mahler said.

“They’re not upset,” she added, referring to the auditors. “… The auditors were like, ‘No big deal.’ ”

Mayor Tim Callison confirmed Mahler’s assessment. He said the auditors approved the corrected change before the audit was finished.

“It all comes in on a state check, that’s the problem, so you have to look very closely,” Callison said.

No other findings were listed by the state office. A letter, dated Feb. 8, from former Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson to the city’s public works director approved the city’s changed procedure.

“Local Programs (a division of the state transportation department) concurs with the City’s updated internal controls to ensure reliable financial statements and meet federal reporting requirements,” Peterson wrote in the letter.

At issue was the way the city classified funds used for the Second Street redesign in 2014. Administered through the state’s department of transportation, the grant funds were listed as being state funds and not on the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards. Mahler joked that it may have occurred while she was out of the office for a medical reason.

The simple change, she said, is that all grant receipts will be checked by the finance director to make sure they are labeled correctly.

According to the audit finding document, omissions and other errors could have missed a required federal audit and jeopardized future federal funding. Other than a street grant from the state, the city does not have any other government funding in the 2016 budget. Even so, because the issue was corrected, Mahler said there were no concerns about the city’s ability to obtain federal or state grants in the future.