At their October meeting the Penn Forest Township supervisors voted to hire the accounting firm of Weseloh Carney & Company LLC to oversee, and correct the accounting deficiencies.
"We have already worked six days with the accountants and have reconciled most of the accounts," township treasurer, Mary Ann Lewellyn reported. "We believe that we need another five days to finish."
The last account that needs to be reconciled is the General Fund, which is the largest and most complicated of all the accounts.
"We are actually ahead of schedule, I am very pleased," was Supervisor Warren Reiner's response to Lewellyn's report.
Last month Reiner had taken it on upon himself to get a proposal from Weseloh Carney & Company, rather than wait and hire an accountant to come in and correct the problem. The motion from Reiner was met with significant resistance from Supervisor Alan Katz, who wanted to hire a government fund accountant.
Katz, who attended the meeting by conference call, hung up when Reiner's motion was made.
Ironically, It was Katz's failure to be available when the vote was taken that allowed the motion to pass and for Weseloh to be hired.
At Monday's meeting, Katz, who attended via conference call, once again brought up the subject of a "Qualified Audit Report."
"I spoke with Dale Kirk of Kirk and Summa this morning and he informed me, that in all good conscience, he would have to issue a 'Qualified Audit Report.' He does not believe that the management of the township could in anyway rely on the information in the accounts," said Katz.
"I'm gonna give you a lesson in reality people," Katz continued. "A Qualified Audit ain't a good thing. We are gonna have to pay back at least $186,000 in liquid fuels money and probably some grant money too, and that's just for 2012. We aren't even talking about 2013 yet."
"It might still be a little premature to talk about a Qualified Audit Report," was the response from Dan Carney of Weseloh Carney & Company.
Part of what has caused the problems with the accounts has been the ongoing problems with the conversion to the Edmunds software. The township switched to the Edmunds system in the summer of 2012, and the staff has yet to be trained.
"Edmunds came in on Oct. 14 for training, but we weren't able to get any training done because of all of the problems with the conversion. We spent the day trying to correct all of the deficiencies," reported clerk Cindy Henning.
A motion was made to request training for Henning on receivables specifically.
Supervisor Christine Fazio discussed a number of issues, including that the township has received a letter of resignation from solicitor Gregory Mousseau to be effective Jan. 1, 2014. Fazio also noted that during executive session the board had agreed that she and Supervisor Judy Knappenberger would be responsible for handling the upcoming negotiations with the union. On Nov. 1 township employees voted unanimously to join the Teamsters Local 773.
Also addressed in the meeting was a motion by Supervisor Paul Montemuro to request that Barry Isett Associates remove Bob Cox as program manager for the Route 903 Park project. Cox is billed at a very high rate and has been charging travel time. Montemuro would like to see BAI engineer, Kevin Markell in Cox's place. Markell lives in Penn Forest Township, and Montemuro believes he would be more cost effective.
Joe Galvin addressed the board during public comment. Galvin is the president of the Jim Thorpe Soccer Club and wanted to thank the board and the township for developing the park.
"The Jim Thorpe Soccer Club has been around for 20 years and we have never had a permanent home. We have two seasons, spring and fall. You will see kids at that park all the time," said Galvin.
Galvin also asked if he could be included in discussions regarding the sports fields. The board assured him that they would include him and suggested he join the recreation committee.
William Miller, a member of the township planning commission brought in a conditional approval for the Jim Thorpe Dollar General. The conditional approval listed "about 20 items that needed to be addressed."
"We usually see conditional approvals with one or two minor items, but with a laundry list of 20 or so items, I say no. We will table this matter until they have addressed these items," responded Montemuro with the agreement of the other supervisors.
Motions were also passed to hire three seasonal employees to assist with snow plowing and to pay the bills.