IM this article to a friend!

January 18, 2004

Meeting over Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind audit delayed

From: St. Augustine Record, FL - Jan 18, 2004

It likely will be February before officials of The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind get to tell their side of a critical state audit to a legislative committee.

School officials were supposed to be heard at a meeting in January of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. In December, the committee heard from the Auditor General William Monroe about the audit released in December 2002. The operational audit covers the period from July 1, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2001, and selected transactions through Aug. 31, 2002.

Committee Chairman Ray Sansom, a state representative from Fort Walton Beach, said at the December meeting that it would be the school's turn in January.

But the meeting has been delayed, although the state House of Representatives and Senate are in Tallahassee this week.

Terry Shoffstall, auditing committee staff director, said in an e-mail last week, "We were unable to schedule a January meeting due to a lack of an available time slot for our committee. We are tentatively scheduled to meet in early February."

Mary Jane Dillon, chairwoman of the school's board of trustees, said recently the school is ready for its presentation and just waiting on the committee to set a date.

At the December committee meeting in Tallahassee, audit findings highlighted by Monroe were: the underuse of an internal audit function for several years, depositing state funds of approximately $1.17 million and $1.2 million in accounts outside the state Treasury contrary to state law, the hiring of a lobbyist on contract contrary to state law, and acquisitions of approximately $2.2 million not made in accordance with state laws and rules.

The school has since contracted with a firm to conduct internal audits, transferred in the funds that had been outside the state Treasury and put the lobbyist on staff. On the property appraisals and purchases, the school has said it followed the direction of the state's Internal Improvement Fund's staff.

© Copyright 2002 The St. Augustine Record and Morris Digital Works.