By: Benjamin J. Gohs, Associate Editor
The Boyne City Commission recently voted unanimously to approve a fraud policy. [private]
The issue was originally brought before the commission as a suggestion by the city’s auditing firm as a means of protecting the city against liability. “It has been recommended we consider a fraud policy by our auditors. This has come before the commission a couple times,” said Boyne City Manager Micheal Cain. “Last time there was discussion of making it better mesh with our flowcharts and organizational structure.” He added, “And, basically with regards to who handles investigations when they come up with the commission or city manager.”
The recommended policy lays out ways of dealing with any alleged irregularities. For issues involving anybody except the city manager, a member of the city commission or a member of a board or commission appointed by the city commission, they would be reported and given to the city manager to handle.
“So if there were any employee issues, again as the ultimate supervisory personnel on all city employees it would come to me,” Cain said. “On any other alleged irregularity – one that would involve the city manager, a member of the city commission or a member of a board or commission appointed by the city commission – that would be reported to the mayor to handle.” Cain said on both issues that are reported to him or issues that are reported to the mayor, there would be the ability to go the city attorney to coordinate with that and use the resources of that office. “Or, if it’s determined that further investigation is warranted, that appropriate person in charge would be able to go and get those resources so they make sure they have the tools necessary to deal with whatever the magnitude of the issue is,” he said.
Cain said if something is alleged involving the mayor, then the investigation would go to the mayor pro-tem. “Basically we want to have a person that is not in the chain of the dispute investigating the matter,” Cain said.
Boyne City Commissioner Dan Adkison said he felt the new policy is spelled out clearly and that this is merely a formality. “I think I like it a little better than the first round that we had going,” said Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom. “It seems to spell things out pretty well. I guess the only that becomes a question in my mind is if an irregularity involved, say … the city manager and one of the subordinate employees then what?”
Cain said the issue would then go to the mayor. Vondra said anything that involves the city manager would go before the mayor. Sansom then asked if the auditors look for fraud when conducting their annual audit. “They’ll meet with various people throughout the organization,” Cain said. “They ask for input from the city commissioners and they ask for various members of the staff and it’s not always the same people every year.”
If the auditor detects an irregularity, they would be required to alert the proper individual under the city’s new policy. “I can’t imagine any proper-minded auditor reporting something they find to the person they suspected,” Cain said. Vondra said it’s a good policy that doesn’t allow anyone to be protected from oversight.[/private]