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City of Santa Fe action plan involves new financial staff

August 6, 2018

City Hall is seeking to bolster its Finance Department staff with new hires across several positions, some that could be key to executing the financial reform envisioned by Mayor Alan Webber’s administration.

For the first time, the city will hire a financial assurance and compliance officer, a new role outlined in the city’s “corrective action plan,” a 10-point initiative aimed at reworking financial management and oversight through additional audits and other measures.

The compliance officer will oversee “management and execution of internal controls, fiscal procedures and compliance,” according to a city recruitment announcement. A lack of internal controls within the city’s financial environment was cited as a weakness in both a scathing review last fall by McHard Account Consulting LLC and the city’s annual external audit, released this summer. The McHard report, in particular, said an “almost complete lack” of internal controls had raised “extremely high risks of fraud.”

The corrective action plan says the compliance officer would report directly to new Finance Director Mary McCoy and would help “ensure that we don’t end up with another critical audit.”

The city also plans to hire a new city purchasing officer. The city’s procurement practices, as noted by the McHard auditing firm, “are time-consuming and inefficient and do not lead to cost savings.” The city has since adopted the state’s procurement regulations.

The city’s former purchasing officer, Robert Rodarte, told McHard reviewers his employees had not been trained in procurement because they were “untrainable.”

Rodarte was one of two employees placed on paid administrative leave when the McHard report was made public; after nine months of leave, for which city leaders have not provided an explanation, Rodarte in late June told the city he planned to retire.

The Finance Department has also posted a fleet section manager position. The accounting firm that reviewed the city’s most recent external audit found some of the city’s vehicle assets were misidentified.

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