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State audit shows City of Mercer Island retains highest rating for financial management

The City of Mercer Island is fully compliant under government auditing standards and has received “unqualified” (i.e. clean) audit opinions since at least 1995, according to a recent report. Mercer Island is just one of a handful of cities in the state that can make this claim. No other indicator provides a better measure of an organization’s financial management practices.

The City of Mercer Island is audited annually by the Washington State Auditor’s Office. The most recent audit was conducted during August and September of 2008 with a final report issued in late December 2008 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2007. The city’s audit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, will begin in August 2009. Recent audit reports are posted on the city’s Web site at www.mercergov.org/financialreporting.

Monitoring internal controls over financial policies, procedures and reporting is an ongoing priority of the Finance Department. Audit recommendations for minor improvements are implemented immediately. The city makes every effort to follow the Governmental Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) “recommended practices” and implement changes to procedures as appropriate.

Key to the city’s longstanding record of good financial management practices is the staff in the Finance Department. The accounting manager, who is a CPA, is primarily responsible for internal accounting controls and preparing the city’s annual financial statements. The deputy finance director is primarily responsible for overseeing the development of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, monitoring all capital-related transactions during the year, and preparing a periodic financial status report on the CIP. Finally, the accounts payable clerk serves as a critical “safety net” for all of the departments, ensuring that all expenditures are appropriate and authorized.

For more information about the City of Mercer Island Finance Department and the city budget, please visit www.mercergov.org/finance.

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