Weld County Council will release audit without commissioner review | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld County Council will release audit without commissioner review

Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

Weld County commissioners appear to have lost the opportunity to review audit results related to their work after rejecting a proposed meeting from the Weld County Council.

Responding early Monday morning to an email from county commissioners rejecting the meeting last week, Brett Abernathy, chairman of the Weld County Council, said the council will release an audit centering on the work of commissioners and the county clerk Aug. 21 without commissioners reviewing it.

The audits, more than a year in the making, were sparked after employees, residents and car dealerships complained about wait times and office climate at the clerk's office. There also was some community concern of commissioners' treatment of county employees and unnecessary spending on conferences and travel.

Because commissioners rejected a council-proposed, 90-minute meeting to review audit results, which was to take place Aug. 15, they've essentially missed their opportunity for any review.

“We just want to check (the audit) for factual accuracy. I’ve never been in an audit where the group being audited doesn’t have a chance to review (it).

— Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County commissioner

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Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, however, said she plans to be at that meeting.

"If (council members) wish to review the audit, I'll be there with a smile on my face," Koppes said. "I'll be there in the big conference room by myself, I guess."

The council's letter appeared to cancel the meeting altogether, but Abernathy said in a phone interview the council will honor the draft review process for Koppes.

When it comes to commissioners' ability to review the audit, a review provided for in the contract with auditing firm Harvey M. Rose Associates, Abernathy said that requirement has been met.

"We provided exactly that opportunity, and it was basically structured from the exact discussions we had during the March 6 meeting," Abernathy said.

Indeed, that meeting, a public work session between commissioners, the council and the clerk and recorder, featured agreement among all parties for an in-person review of the facts in the audit.

Commissioners after their regular Monday meeting expressed disappointment at the council's decision.

"We just want to check (the audit) for factual accuracy," Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer said. "I've never been in an audit where the group being audited doesn't have a chance to review (it)."

Given the lack of review, Commissioner Mike Freeman said he wants to know what the council will do with the audit between the time the council gets it and when that audit is made public at the council's Aug. 21 meeting.

"I don't trust them," Freeman said.

Abernathy's email comes in response to an email from Commissioner Chairwoman Julie Cozad on Thursday in which she and commissioners sought to change the review process proposed by the council. Instead of the entire group being in the room for an hour and a half, they wanted the audit sent to commissioners for a 24-hour review.

In a phone interview Monday, Abernathy called the 24-hour period arbitrary, saying it was never discussed during the March 6 work session.

"We came up with a plan at that meeting," Abernathy said, adding the council will stick with that plan.

— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.

Read the letter

To read Weld County Council Chairman Brett Abernathy’s full letter to Weld County Commissioners regarding the impending audit, click here.