The board’s annual audit was made more difficult than necessary, according to CPA Shirley Vige, because of the lack of a central system.
When the board fired Director Walter Stubbs in May, it discovered the annual audit, normally begun shortly after Jan. 1, had not be done.
When Vige’s firm began to gather records, it found them scattered about, or couldn’t find them at all.
“It was just a mess,” he told the board on Tuesday. “There was no filing system, and no one other than the director with information,” he said.
The board has since put a system in place under the guidance of consultant Trudy Patterson.
Auditors were eventually able to reconstruct records to the point it could provide what Vige’s firm considers a fair and accurate representation.
Patterson and consultant Jackie Choate have been managing the system day-to-day since Stubbs’ firing.
He challenged the board’s right to terminate him and the board is awaiting an attorney general’s opinion, asking if the position has explicit or implied protections or if it is an employment-at-will post.
Board chairwoman Estelle Perrault said the board will likely not begin its search for a director until that issues is resolved and until “the system is a more attractive job opportunity.”
Whenever that post is filled, the next director will have to manage under constraints noted by the audit.
The system spent $44,000 more in Fiscal 2010 than it received. And while that may in part can be attributed to the timing of the system’s revenue stream, particularly state funding and grants, Vige noted the system can’t do that on a continuing basis.
The system took in $475,000 in the fiscal year, which corresponds to the calendar year, and spent $519,000.
It had $153,000 on hand at the year’s start and $108,800 on Dec. 31, 2010.
Since its fiscal year does not correspond with those of the two cities and the state, it year-to-year has a cash balance when the audit is done.
Two substantial changes in library spending in 2010 were in payroll and communications.
Wages and salaries totaled $269,000, a $47,000 increase from the prior year. Perrault said most of that increase was from adjustments of as much as $2 hourly to some employees’ pay to bring them to minimum wage. The board had budgeted $270,000 for salaries.
Communications costs rose $14,000 to $27,000, about $4,000 over the amended budget.
The system bought $71,000 worth of books and periodicals, an increase of $17,000 over the previous year.
Most of the auditors’ comment and recommendations deal with the need for an acceptable accounting system.
In other business, the board reviewed a number of operating suggestions submitted by library patrons, noting several have or are being implemented.
The meeting was held in the genealogical research area of the Eunice branch, amid walls freshly painted with materials donated by Dale Soileau.
Board member Alma Reed pointed out other cosmetic and practical improvements that have been made at the branch over the summer, but noted water poured into the mechanical shaft during Tropical Storm Lee’s rains over the Labor Day weekend, causing the Fire Department to instruct the library to close due to the danger of water in the electrical circuitry.
The board declared a long list of equipment, including computers and monitors, as surplus preliminary to selling them.