Wednesday, February 8, 2023

My 2.8.23 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss a few significant items.  Unfortunately due to technical difficulties the wifi at Hoyer Hall was not functioning properly and both the audio and video portions of the meeting did not stream properly.  Video should have been recorded however so hopefully that will be available at the city website soon.

- We accepted the audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) of the city.  Fiscal year 2022 (ended June 30, 2022) was an outlier in that we received ARPA funding which distorted the results of operations as compared to prior years.  Overall the city continues to maintain a health reserve which is good because it means we can be thoughtful on how we address our ongoing budget deficits.  We must take action, but it is not so urgent that we do not have time to be assess the best course of action.  

The audit identified three material weaknesses in internal controls, and one significant deficiency.  A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected, on a timely basis.  A significant deficiency is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those charged with governance.  

The nature of the material weaknesses identified primarily related to turnover and continuity of personnel.  While day to day operations of the city are being covered, certain activities that are less regular in nature suffer when we lose staff without well documented processes and the ability to maintain them. This will be an area of focus for the new Finance Director who is starting on Monday.

- We adopted a resolution to uplevel one Police Officer position to a Sergeant.  This action does not impact the overall number of sworn police, however it does change the level of one position.  Prior to this adoption, Clayton had three Sergeants who act in a supervisory capacity while on duty.  Because the police operate 24/7/365, this meant that there were a couple days each week where there were no supervisory roles on duty and should the officers who were working at the time need guidance or support, they would need to call one of the off duty Sergeants.  By making this change, we ensure that there is a supervisor on duty at all times, and we provide additional advancement potential for our police.  This idea was brought forward by Chief McEachin and received the support of the Clayton Police Officers Association and for these reasons, I was glad to support the Chief and the POA in providing better protection to the city.

- We updated our municipal code removing the requirement that all checks be signed by either the Mayor or Vice Mayor.  Requiring a second signature from one of the elected positions caused inefficiency in the workflow of staff as they would have to wait and follow up in order to issue payment.  As the full City Council approves all disbursements at our regular meetings prior to them being issued, there was not a value add in having these physically signed by the Mayor or Vice Mayor.  Two signatures will still be required on all disbursements and we and reviewed the change with our auditors and there was no concern regarding segregation of duties at City Hall to move forward with this change.