Gary Airport Audit Reveals Lack of Documentation in Federal Awards

” The Airport Authority did prepare the SEFA for the year ended December 31, 2017. However, errors were noted in the balances presented. The SEFA [schedule of federal awards] originally presented by management, although correct in total, we were not able to tie out the federal funds according to each project.”

August 29, 2018-The Indiana State Board of Accounts has published an audit of the Gary International Airport Authority which was prepared by accounting firm Whittaker & Associates PLLC. Significantly, the audit report noted numerous errors in the Schedule of Federal Awards (SEFA). In fact, the SEFA was prepared but was so bad that the auditor could not “tie out the federal funds according to each project.” Similar to the issues with the City of Gary Ambulance/EMS Fund debacle, Whittaker found bank reconciliation errors:

During our review of the December 2017 JPMorgan checking account bank reconciliation and bank statement, we noted that the year-end cash balance was overstated by approximately $647,000 due to transaction posting errors and errant journal entries.

In 2016, similar findings were noted as the JP Morgan Chase account was out of balance for 10 out of 12 months:

The Airport Authority has instituted a process whereby transactions are entered into the accounting system by staff on a monthly basis. However, upon our observation and review, the accounting transactions that were entered for the JPMorgan checking account were accurate for only two out of twelve months in 2016.

Each report was discussed with Daniel Vicari, acting director and William Mays, Board President. The stated cause for the problems in the 2016 report was:

This finding is the result of staff turnover within the Airport Authority’s finance department and the lack of training in transition to new staff.

Vicari and Mays promised “. . .the Airport Authority has instituted a process whereby the bank reconciliations are to be included in the monthly financial reports submitted by the Finance Manager to the Airport Board for acceptance. The Board will consider the reconciliations for their accuracy and accept them. “

You can view the full 2017 Audit Report here-https://www.in.gov/sboa/WebReports/B50676.pdf Scroll to page 42 for the schedule of federal awards.

You can view the view the full 2016 audit report here. scroll to page 32 for the schedule of federal awards.

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