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Financial Report Auditor Gives Strong Thumbs Up to City of F.C.

BILLY ROBINSON (right) of the CPA firm of Brown Edwards, auditors for the City of Falls Church, gave a very positive report on the City's financial position at tonight's Falls Church City Council meeting. He's seated with Melissa Ryman of the City's Finance Office. (Photo: News-Press)
BILLY ROBINSON (right) of the CPA firm of Brown Edwards, auditors for the City of Falls Church, gave a very positive report on the City’s financial position at tonight’s Falls Church City Council meeting. He’s seated with Melissa Ryman of the City’s Finance Office. (Photo: News-Press)

With the presentation of the 154-page annual audit of the City of Falls Church’s financial operations, Billy Robinson representing the certified public accounting firm of Brown Edwards, told Monday night’s meeting of the Falls Church City Council, “You are in a strong position, especially given the (small) size of your staff, and have done a good job given your resources” for keeping the City’s financial house in order.

He said that since the Council had voted to add $9.2 million from the sale of its water system to Fairfax County in 2014, the City’s position with respect to its pension fund is at a plus 115 percent, and he said “I know of no other locality in Virginia” whose position is as strong.

The report identified “one significant deficiency relating to the audit of financial statements” that dealt with “internal control over financial reporting and on compliance and other matters,” and Robinson explained to the Council that this dealt only with a potential risk, and was due to the small size of the Falls Church finance office, having nothing to do with any suspicions. “This merely acknowledges that an opportunity exists, with no evidence anything has happened.”

City Manager Wyatt Shields further explained to the News-Press Monday night that this has been a long-standing issue that has been identified and watched carefully for many years and is due to the limitations of staffing.

When asked by Council member Phil Duncan if something like an internal audit function were added to the City could correct this issue, Robinson suggested that it would not achieve anything more than has already been accomplished, which is to identify the issue and to watch it carefully.

“You’re in a strong position, and my advice is to have policies in place to adhere to, such as fund balance and debt service policies, which you do. You’re doing this and while your policies are not very liberal, if you decide to modify them you have to understand the reasons why,”