At their regular meeting on July 26, the members of the Cache County Council voted to retain the services of Sage Forensic Accounting to conduct an analysis of current county financial controls.

CACHE COUNTY – After a mysterious closed session in the afternoon on Tuesday, the Cache County Council voted to give themselves authority to retain independent accountants to look into county financial practices.

With minimal discussion in their later open meeting, the council voted to retain the services of Sage Forensic Accounting of Salt Lake.

The council members voted 6 to 1 to approve a broad motion made by its Vice Chair Paul R. Borup, with only council member Karl B. Ward voting “nay.”

“We’ve already allocated the money for this special audit; everybody is aware of that,” Borup said.

“Because we’re a body that cannot act except by a majority vote in open meeting,” he added, “we need to have the opportunity to make a motion to hire professional staff to provide technical assistance and analysis of all financial matters of the county.”

Borup moved that the council retain Sage Forsenic Accounting to develop the scope of the audit and to provide technical assistance and analysis regarding the county’s current internal controls.

That firm’s website states that forensic accounting involves the “ … integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills to provide an accounting analysis.”

“Once the scope (of the audit) has been developed,” Borup said. “We will vote on the specifics of the scope and goals.”

Additionally, Borup moved that the council retain Lee Nelson to provide technical assistance and analysis of ordinances adopted or ordinances that could be adopted by the council in relation to financial matters.

Finally, he sought the council’s authority for himself and Council Chair Barbara Y. Tidwell to sign letters of agreement or engagement with Sage Forensic Accounting and Lee Nelson.

Traditionally, the authority to sign county contracts is reserved for County Executive David Zook.

Council member Gina Worthen strongly supported Borup’s motion, saying “… we have a duty as a council to respond to concerns.”

But council member Karl Ward disagreed.

“I can’t quite wrap my head around the need for this,” Ward said, explaining his “nay” vote.

Zook agreed with Ward.

“The county’s independent outside auditing firm reported to the council in June that the county’s finances are in excellent shape and that the county is in a better position than ever,” Zook said Thursday.

“They found that the public’s dollars have been well-managed.”

On several occasions, however, Borup has accused county officials of so-called “budget shenanigans.”

“We are an open book,” Zook countered. “We follow the law and we take seriously our obligation to be good stewards of the public’s hard-earned tax dollars.”

Officially, the members of the Cache County Council met in executive session earlier on Tuesday to discuss “ … the character, professional competence or physical or mental health of an individual.”

 



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