County To Bring In Independent Auditor For Risk Assessment

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County officials are looking to have an independent auditor examine internal financial controls.

County Executive Vince Horrigan and Kitty Crow, finance director, came before the Audit and Control Committee recently to discuss plans to bring in an auditor to conduct a risk assessment.

Crow told legislators the assessment is a one-time review of current process and procedures. Crow said it would identify potential risks.

“It would also give us a format to use going forward to provide the internal audit of our various functions,” Crow said. “It would give us a roadmap going forward.”

Plans for a risk assessment come amid a change in the County Charter last year, which gave the Audit and Control Committee control over internal auditing functions. It also called for the development of a risk assessment along with periodic review and updates.

“The County Charter has said for years that the county was to do a risk assessment periodically as well as internal audits,” said chairman Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point. “Nobody could remember the last time a risk assessment was done. When it became Audit and Control’s duty, I said it’s our responsibility that we have do it.”

Three firms submitted proposals to conduct the assessment. County officials are looking to go with Freed Maxick, a Buffalo-based firm that advises public and private companies in the region.

“We hope from that risk assessment it’ll give us a baseline blueprint of where we are,” Horrigan said. “We need to have good risk assessment and we need strong internal auditing.”

Horrigan said the cost for the risk assessment is $20,000, and it will stay within budget.

Chagnon said Freed Maxick has the most experience and the best understanding of the county’s needs.

“My view of this is the risk assessment is something that’s timely and needed,” he said. “Once we get the results, that will lead to further discussions.”