The Anacortes Housing Authority has resolved issues with its accounting and financial reporting, earning the agency a clean bill of health from the State Auditor’s Office.
In its 2017 audit, the state auditor found $373,817 in accounting errors. The housing authority’s monthly bank reconciliations “were not independently reviewed to ensure accuracy and completeness;” the authority lacked an effective process “to ensure journal entries are properly authorized, supported and reviewed for accuracy;” and an accounting firm’s work on behalf of the authority was not reviewed “for completeness, reasonableness and accuracy,” the state auditor reported at the time.
On April 11, the state auditor reported that it accepted a 53-page report from a CPA hired by the Housing Authority. Finney, Neill & Co. scrutinized the books and internal accounting practices for fiscal year 2017-18 and found nothing awry.
Housing Authority board member Tanna Baker said April 15 that all the funds were ultimately accounted for, but the staff “was not trained at the time to do the proper job.” She credited the latest audit report to new Executive Director Brian Clark, who instituted new accounting policies, procedures and staff training. His resume includes leadership positions at housing authorities in Florida and Virginia. He was executive director of the New Smyrna Beach Housing Authority in Florida before joining the Anacortes Housing Authority in June 2017.
“The Housing Authority hired an experienced full time executive director to help guide the agency and reform its internal controls,” the CPA firm reported. “The Housing Authority has adopted an internal control policy, separation of duties rules, purchasing guidelines and hired an external fee accountant to prepare financial statements, train financial staff and review all journal entries and general ledger transactions.”
Finney, Neill & Co. reported it considers the state auditor’s earlier findings resolved.
The Housing Authority owns or manages 182 homes and apartments in Anacortes for individuals and families meeting income requirements: Bayview Apartments; Harbor House for older residents; The Wilson Hotel, which has studios and one-bedroom apartments; as well as duplexes, fourplexes and townhouses ranging from two to four bedrooms.
In its fiscal year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2o18, the Housing Authority had total revenues of $1.1 million — rent payments, grants and interest income — and expenses of $943,457, the CPA firm reported. The authority has six employees, according to its website.
“Brian deserves the credit,” Baker said. “It was a collaborative effort, but he brought the qualifications we needed at the time in an executive director. He has more than met our expectations.”
She added, “This is a bright, shining spot for the housing authority.”
The housing authority is governed by a five-member board of commissioners appointed by the mayor. Commissioners serve five-year terms.