“The need for this is something we have all discussed for quite some time,” Cook said. “The purpose of (the Sept. 1 meeting) is to introduce the council and our guests to the audit investigation team that the administration has chosen. The purpose of this is to take a deep dive into the financial stability, the financial processes of this city across the broad spectrum.”
Cook said accusations have been made about how much cash the city has available.
“Within the power that the state legislature has given mayors of third-class cities, I have the ability to call for a full investigation of this city and do so by choosing three firms to conduct this,” Cook said.
Cook appointed Daniel Hedden from Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, Zachary Klutz from Taft Stettinius & Hollister and Bryan Callahan from BKD CPAs & Advisors to conduct the audit.
Each firm will focus on a certain aspect. BKD CPAs & Associates will focus on the forensic investigation of the audit, Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors will focus on the operational assessment and Taft Stettinius & Hollister will focus on compliance with the law.
Callahan said the forensic investigations side will be deeper than a financial statement audit, and that the process will test every payment made by the city.
At the end of the investigation, all three members will bring their findings together.
“We are taking on separate roles, especially at the start, but we are going to bring all this together in one cohesive report with our findings and recommendations,” Callahan said.
Cook said he has ordered each department head to fully cooperate with the investigation, and that he has requested the city’s associated agencies, such as the Redevelopment Commission, the Redevelopment Authority and the Clerk Treasurer’s Office, to cooperate as well.
Cook said he is unsure of how long the process will take, or how much it will cost.
For more, visit westfield.in.gov.