First Selectman Bill Brennan met with town department heads on Aug. 4 to discuss the results of a fraud risk assessment conducted by the New England-based business advisory firm BlumShapiro.
According to Chief Financial Officer Sandy Dennies, in their 28-page report the auditors identified risks, identified what financial controls exist to address those risks, and made recommendations and comments as to how the town could “tighten up” those existing controls.
Though she could not disclose some of the more complex recommendations, Dennies did mention several suggestions she said have already been implemented.
For example, it was suggested the town routinely change the locks on its safe, and if someone leaves or resigns who had access to the safe, the town should change them then, too.
It was also suggested that anyone who is sent to the bank with more than $1,000 should be escorted by police.
The report addressed bank reconciliation, or the process of verifying bank statements, and the auditors recommended the town have one individual do the reconciliation, sign off on it, and another individual check his or her work and sign off on that.
A fraud tip hotline was suggested, and in response the town has listed the Wilton Police Tip Line number on its website.
“We decided that it should be not only on the police website but the town website as well,” said Dennies. “This way, any tip provided anonymously or otherwise (concerning financial fraud) can be appropriately investigated by investigatory professionals as opposed to by department heads.”
It should be noted the town is not guilty of fraud in any way, rather, it jumped on an opportunity of improving itself.
“The management letter from BlumShapiro,” said Dennies, “suggested that we do the audit, so we said ‘Why not? It will give us another set of eyes looking at our practices.’ I think it’s good ... I believe that having another person look at your records helps to strengthen you and your practices and allows you to look at things a little differently.”
“It was a good exercise,” she concluded.
Dennies said she is unsure whether or not the town will implement everything suggested in the report.
The audit will be published in September on WiltonCT.org.