The submission of the city of Santa Fe’s 2020 fiscal year audit will again be delayed, according to a memo sent Monday to the State Auditor’s Office.

According to the memo, the city will need until at least Aug. 31 — eight months after the audit originally was to be filed.

The city in February received an extension to Wednesday after missing the Dec. 15 deadline.

Stephanie Woodruff, chairwoman of the city’s Audit Committee, said much of the delay is caused by a combination of the city’s transition to a new accounting system and staffing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Alan Webber offered a similar explanation in February, drawing a rebuke from State Auditor Brian Colón.

Woodruff said the new system was improperly installed in 2017 by the previous administration, and the city has been cleaning up resulting issues. She said it is better the city takes its time to ensure future audits are submitted in a more timely manner.

The system also has been blamed for issues involving improper employee deductions, tax documents and other payroll issues.

“The audit was due back in December, and whether you are late one day or six days, it is still the same: There is a delay,” Woodruff said. “It is better to continue to take the time, and — I know the state auditor agrees with this — it’s better to take the time to ensure it is done right and clean up some of these issues that, honestly, go back decades.”

Colón said the city has kept in touch with his office and would rather have a tardier audit with accurate data than one that’s inaccurate. He also said the office is focused on helping the city putting a system in place the ensures timely audits in the future.

“We will continue to work with the city to ensure that fiscal year 2021 is timely,” Colón said. “It is important and it matters, but, at the end of the day, we want it to be correct and an accurate reflection of the city.”

It’s the second straight year the city has been late in submitting its audit.

In 2019, the city was six months late on providing a financial audit report and was late, or failed to respond completely, to specific requests from the state auditor.

Colón previously said untimely audits could affect federal grants and put entities like the Buckman Direct Diversion Board and the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Authority at risk of losing funding.

Woodruff said audits for both entities will be submitted Wednesday, and it was mainly the “federal portion” of the audit affecting the process.

According to the memo, the city expects to finish examining federal grant funds July 16.

In 2017, the city was blasted for financial issues in an audit dubbed the McHard Report, which outlined a lack of internal financial controls. The auditors said this created a field ripe for fraud or mismanagement of funds.

According to the memo, the city has been working with the accounting firm CliftonLarsonAllen for a revised timeline and will inform Colón if the Aug. 31 deadline cannot be met.

Woodruff, however, said she is confident the city will make the deadline.

(12) comments

Lee Vigil

Eight months? Now I know New Mexico is the Land of Mañana, but the Land of Eight Meses, Quizas, Mas o Menos, just doesn't have the same cache. I know Webber thinks he can do anything because he was successful in business and running a tiny municipality like Santa Fe could be done in his sleep, but geez, why can't he meet important deadlines - deadlines that risk federal funding for important projects?

Stefanie Beninato

I wonder why more blame (accountability) is not being directed at the Finance Dept itself especially Mary McCoy. These employees who are highly paid and some of whom have worked with the system for 3 plus years should know how to get the audit done and done correctly Wasn't McCoy an appointee supported by Tiger Abeyta? Isn't her spouse the campaign manager for Webber?

KT Rivera

And yet, as part of his re-election campaign he is touting how well he managed the city through the pandemic. Nope! This would be a career ender for any 'business person'.

Mark Ortiz

Erybody just chill out. Webber just needs to create a committee, who unbeknownst to him, will be big campaign donors of his. This committee will suggest they issue a no bid contract, also unbeknownst to him, another big campaign donor, that will bill the City a couple of million dollars, who, in the end will strongly suggest he and LaPan Hill hire 4-5 more upper management staff at $100K to start, and alas, the real work will start. Their first task will be, composing a memo stating that they won't be meeting their target date of Aug. 31, 2021.

Mike Johnson

More incompetence and corruption by Webber's group. They will continue hiding the truth from the voters until after the election.

Vince Czarnowski

Boy, they must be really working those numbers! It's rich that they blame the previous administration.

Lee DiFiore

Anyone notice how the coronavirus has become the excuse for everyone and everything?

Janie Roe

Haha the comments made by the City is just laughable. You cannot blame the system or the pandemic - the City had plenty of resources to get the audit done in a timely manner and it is typically not the system it is the users of the system. These are just easy excuses. How can the books be more accurate when there are more and more findings reported on the audit? and prior findings not being corrected? I blame management on not being able to actual manage a team, understand the technicalities of the audit, and to learn how the new system works - there was plenty of "one-on-one" training with the new system for the Finance department. What excuses are you going to use when FY21 audit is late Webber? The Pandemic? The toxic environment of the City?

Amber Espinosa-Trujillo

The City Audit is 8 Months Late! Webber of Lies is now blaming the 2017 McHard Report! This is the same report he waved around during the last election saying he would fix the issues of. What a difference three years makes! 😂😂

Lee Vigil

Oh, what a tangled Webber we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Maria Bautista

The only reason audits are late is due to numbers being massaged, by dirty hands (legal term).

BARRY SILVER

when a mandated annual audit misses its due date by eight months, it's not merely late. ''late '' goes without saying. it's astonishing and usually a career ender. or are we meant to grin and mutter, '' ours is the city different.''

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