The Shakopee Public Utilities Commission unanimously accepted the audit report it originally rejected at the commission’s May 4 meeting, following an explanation from the auditor that catching certain legal errors, such as a salary cap calculation, is not within the purview of the auditor.
Commissioners who voted against the audit May 4 cited mistrust in SPUC administration’s ability to supply accurate information to the auditors. The rejection of the audit came by a 3-2 vote, with SPUC President Deb Amundson and Commissioner Mathew Meyer dissenting.
The audit presentation came just weeks after a letter from the state auditor’s office stated that the way SPUC was calculating its staff member’s salaries was incorrect, meaning SPUC Utilities Manager John Crooks was earning more than the cap allows.
Fox said the salary cap issue “makes one question what other creative interpretations have eluded detection,” newly-appointed commissioner Kayden Fox said in a written response to the Valley News.
“I question the accuracy of the information that is being supplied to the Auditors by John Crooks and Renee Schmid,” Commissioner and City councilmember Jody Brennan said. “I am concerned that the SPUC has used the past audits as part of approval process on issues such as the calculation of employee compensation.”
Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha said the salary cap issue likely would not have been caught during a typical audit.
“An audit won’t catch every error. It won’t catch every problem. An audit is to make sure the processes are in place,” Blaha said. “An audit is best used as a preventative tool.”