For the most part, Upper Des Moines Opportunity based in Graettinger has addressed most of the concerns outlined in a Sept, 8 audit report by the Office of Auditor of State.
Beyond that, UDMO executive director Ron Ludwig takes issue with some of the report’s findings.
“There were and are some discrepancies in the audit report with the facts,” Ludwig said. In addition, he said, “All the suggestions and recommendations we have already made the changes.”
Ludwig first addressed the issue of interest on the LIHEAP program administered by UDMO. He said the agency filed a contract with the Iowa Department of Human Rights which was in form the same contract that other state agencies follow.
“We were just following what we were supposed to do,” Ludwig said.
In another issue, Ludwig said the state auditor felt there should be more documentation on a contract with a consultant.
The agency has since modified a process in which decisions made by the executive committee go before the full board for approval.
Regarding a $25,000 loan made to the Graettinger Economic Development Council for a loan to establish a grocery store in Graettinger, Ludwig said Gina Lowman-Hall, community relations director at the time the loan was made and an owner of the grocery store, Main Street Market, was unaware of UDMO’s loan to GEDC.
Ludwig said the agency has reviewed the policies and procedures manual every year, something the board will approve again at its November meeting.
Changes have also been put in place in the fiscal department and Ludwig brings personnel actions directly to the board.
Salary advances are now based only on hours worked, a policy put in place last year. An auditing firm also comes in annually.
Ludwig took issue with an auditor’s recommendation that personal use of vehicles be property reported on an IRS form 1099. He said the Internal Revenue Service in fact requires that the expense be listed on a W-2 form.
Ludwig said the sudden death of Larry Rohret may have been a major reason that discrepancies were found in the audit.
“Had he still been alive, I don’t think any of these things would have been an issue,” Ludwig said. “Some of the things in the audit report did not deal fairly with Larry.”
Specifically, regarding the consultant issue, said Ludwig, “A lot of those things were left undone.”
“He was definitely a go-getter and innovative in his thinking,” Ludwig said. “I think he had a very good relationship with the board of directors.”