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City of Baker discusses audit

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BAKER- Some councilmembers were not thrilled Wednesday when city officials first announced the annual audit would not be ready by the end of the year.

"The financial part is about 95 percent complete," said Baker's financial director Mary Sue Stages.

Some councilmembers feared a repeat of last year's embarrassing audit which wasn't completed because the city lacked several accounting records.

"It seems to be a repeated pattern like last year," said Councilwoman Brenda Jackson.

However, after extensive questioning, independent auditor Joseph Akanaji was able to reassure the council this year's delay was for the best.

Stages told WBRZ her department was still working on some of the accounting issues highlighted in last year's audit and they only needed a few more weeks to submit a complete report.

"That is not a problem to me," said Councilman Pete Heine. "The legislative auditor is not going to come here and arrest us for being a week or two weeks from getting this thing done."

Last year's audit landed Baker on the state's non-compliance list, barring it from some state funding.

"That was serious stuff whether you recognize it or not," said Heine.

Baker has since been taken off the list and is back in good standing with the Legislative Auditor.

Stages, who was hired to address the accounting issues in Baker, told WBRZ she believes the problems stemmed in part from a high turnover rate in the city's financial department.

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