March 28, 2019
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
In case you missed it, TGM, the auditor under pressure due to multiple oversights and lapses, has resigned! TGM was the Dewey auditor whose advance reports to management led to the Audit Committee resignations last summer, and who had on ongoing failure to account for missing military equipment - which they had missed for years prior.
Many Dewey residents wrote TGM following our email of February 15 asking the accounting firm specific questions on subjects of why their reports were pre-edited by town management, including why they billed the town for $63,000 of services on a $30,000 estimate to find the military surplus equipment, and asked that TGM to resign if they could not answer them. TGM, instead of providing any answers, said in a news article of March 20 that their liability insurance provider advised them to resign.
But TGM’s exit raised further issues of non-accountability: the TGM resignation letter was dated February 19, but not released by the town management until March 21. For reasons that require a serious inquiry, Mayor Redefer and Town Manager Koenig, failed to disclose for over a month the release of both the fact of the resignation and the TGM letter. Town Council, the Audit Committee and the public were all kept in the dark.
The town management admits they were meeting behind closed doors and negotiating for weeks to ask TGM to come back. But under Dewey’s Town charter, and auditor practice, ONLY the Audit Committee can negotiate with the “independent auditor.” The subject of the annual audit - the Town Management - must be separate at all times from the “independent Auditor” - the Audit Committee is the intermediary for the Dewey residents to receive and review the Auditor’s findings.
When Audit Committee met last Saturday March 22, its members found out about another brazen usurping of their authority. In the request for proposal (RFP) to hire a new auditor, new language in the RFP document proposes the Auditor only report to the town manager and the Mayor and the Audit Chair - usurping the role of the members of the Audit Committee, again. The Mayor even argued, contrary to Delaware law defined by the Attorney General, the RFP document to be discussed and voted on at that public meeting, should not be distributed to the public! But after an intervention by Audit Committee liaison Moskowitz, the FOIA law prevailed over the Mayor’s incorrect assertion, and copies were made for all attendees and the press. But the management inserted language usurping the authority of the Audit Committee remains in as of today.
From any standard of accountability the interference of “management” since the Auditor’s resignation is wrongful to the interests of the residents to get an objective Audit of their town. The entire problem that led to TGM leaving started with interference by town management back in August 2018, as management, the Mayor or Town Manager, cannot be allowed to interfere with the basic checks and balances between them and an outside Auditor, for any reason. Residents need to demand the “town management” process be removed in favor of the practice and principle of the checks and balances provided by the Independent Auditor as contained in the Charter.
Once again we all need as Dewey Residents to email and speak with our elected representatives in Town Council to advocate for ethical and accountable town government. Council meets this Saturday March 30 at 3pm.
The following link will send emails to Council and the Audit Committee simply with one click. How does this benefit all of us? Dewey must be a more respected and accountable government and will make the infamous “Dewey [Real Estate] discount” lessen, replaced by a higher quality of life and property values. Please do it today, and stay tuned for the latest developments on our website: DeweyCitizens.org
Jeffrey C. Smith
Dewey Citizens for Accountability
TGM Group severs ties with Dewey Beach (Cape Gazette March 20, 2019)
PS: The attached flow chart will illustrate the correct process, versus the recent efforts made by the Mayor and Town Manager. Dewey needs more transparency and more oversight by committees of residents and checks and balances. Bypassing that - as the town management is now attempting - violates basic standards of accountability.
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