Was city’s fiscal 2006 audit truly an independent one?

By MIKE ANTHONY

The city of Crestwood has the “beginnings” of financial stability and an accounting system that has improved from previous years, according to a certified public accounting firm.

As reported at the June 12 Crestwood Board of Aldermen meeting, Schmersahl Treloar & Co. found in its independent audit of the city’s finances for fiscal 2006 that the tracking and condition of the city’s finances saw “steady and significant improvement” from 2004 to 2006.

That’s certainly good news for the city and a tribute to the hard work of Crestwood employees.

But wait a minute — just a few short years ago, a small group of Crestwood residents — and some non-residents — were clamoring for a state audit of the city’s finances, contending that an auditing firm selected by the city and paid with city funds could not be counted on to perform a truly independent audit.

In fact, Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance Chairman Kelley Isherwood is-sued a statement in October 2003 advocating a state audit, saying exactly that. “The city should not select its own auditor! Let’s protect our elected officials and administration by insisting on a truly objective Missouri state audit,” the statement read. “Crestwood citizens need to know, want to know, deserve to know. Can an auditor, chosen and paid for by those being audited, be as objective as Missouri’s state auditor?”

Though it’s no secret we didn’t buy that load of bunk, if that was true then, isn’t it true now? As we recall, one of those residents clamoring for a state audit back in 2003 was Jerry Miguel.

In fact, Mr. Miguel helped collect signatures for the petition calling for a state audit — before he was elected to the Board of Aldermen.

Now that Mr. Miguel holds an elected position, it’s obvious that he no longer has any qualms about whether an audit performed by a firm the city has selected and paid is truly independent or he certainly would have raised those concerns last week.

It’s also no secret that we believed the motivation for a state audit was nothing more than a political witch hunt driven by the owners of the Creston Center — the Boegeman family — to preserve their building at the corner of Watson and Grant roads.

We believe the fact that no one is questioning whether Crestwood’s fiscal 2006 audit was truly independent proves conclusively those clamoring for a state audit back in 2003 were more concerned with politics than finances.