County's financial management scores high with state auditor

The millions of dollars entrusted to Pierce County by the taxpayers are in exceptionally good hands.
That is the bottom line of the Washington State Auditor’s Office Audit Report on Pierce County for the year ending Dec. 31, 2000.
State auditors reported no findings for the second year in a row.
State Auditor Brian Sonntag said Pierce County can be rightfully proud of the accomplishment.
“That is a remarkable achievement,” he said. “They do a great job.”
The “good hands” belong to Patrick Kenney, the county’s Budget and Finance Department director, and his staff.
They were recognized Tuesday, Oct. 23, by Executive John Ladenburg and the county council for receiving a Government Financial Officers Association national award recently.
“We are extremely proud of you and thank you for bringing this great honor to Pierce County,” said Councilman Harold Moss, who was acting chair at the council’s regular weekly meeting.
The proclamation presented to Kenney and budget manager Mary Schmidtke noted the GFOA award is the “highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.”
Ladenburg said the state audit report also shows what Kenney and his staff mean to Pierce County government and the citizens who pay property, sales and other taxes that fund county programs and services.
State auditors told the executive they couldn’t remember a large county going two consecutive years without a finding.
“That is remarkable for a county with an $800 million annual budget,” Ladenburg said.
The audit report confirms the county complied with state and federal laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures.
“Given the size and complexity of the county, officials and management should be commended for their commitment to maintain a financial system with strong internal controls,” the auditors wrote.
Sonntag, a former Pierce County auditor, said he often uses Pierce County as an example of good financial management.
“Pierce County is a large, sophisticated organization with millions of dollars flowing through, dozens of programs, numerous state and federal grants and other complexities,” he said.
“It’s hard on a good day to keep track of all that, but that’s why governments and businesses have audits.”