Landmark assistant editor
The manager for Susan Montees state auditor
campaign and Siobhann Williams, the Democrat candidate
for Platte County auditor, both this week raised
questions about the legitimacy of Sandra Thomas,
the current Platte County auditor, claiming credit
for accounting excellence awards in Platte County
the past nine years.
Additionally, Spence sharply criticized Thomas
for five years of findings against Thomas and
the Platte County auditors office, made
by the countys external auditor, which criticized
Thomas for failing to reconcile the countys
cash and investment accounts. The five years
of findings included 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, and
The 2005 findings against Thomas, by external
auditor Troutt, Beeman & Co., spoke directly
to the $195,000 accounting discrepancy at Platte
County, first reported by county treasurer, Bonnie
Brown, this past July.
"Independent auditors repeatedly warned
Thomas, in writing, to balance her accounts,"
Spence said on Monday.
Sandra Thomas, in her 12th year as Platte County
auditor, won a narrow victory in the August primary
to run as the Republican candidate for Missouri
state auditor, to replace Claire McCaskill, who
is running against Jim Talent for the U.S. Senate.
In her bid to become the next Missouri state
auditor and on her campaign Web site, Thomas frequently
highlights her nine instances of receiving the
annual "Certificate of Achievement for Excellence
in Financial Reporting Program," an award
sponsored by the Government Finance Officers Association.
"Thomas bases her campaign on her status
as an award-winning CPA and claims
that her office produces the award-winning reports.
The fact is that she pays an outside auditor thousands
of dollars every year to win this award and then
claims credit,"claims Sean Spence, Montees
Siobhann Williams, who is a certified public
accountant, pledged on Monday that, if elected
as the next Platte County auditor, she will immediately
end the practice of paying an outside auditor
extra money to complete reports in a format specifically
geared toward winning an award.
"These financial duties should be done in-house.
Thats why its appropriate to have
a CPA as the county auditor," Williams said.
"Platte County pays Troutt, Beeman &
Co., of Harrisonville, its external auditor extra
money, over and above its fee to perform the countys
annual external audit, to submit its annual report
in the Government Finance Officers Association-suggested
format specifically so Platte County may win the
"Certificate of Achievement in Financial
Reporting," Williams said on Tuesday.
Williams works in the finance division of the
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
Sandra Thomas referred all response to Jeff Roe,
of Axiom Strategies, of Kansas City, a company
performing communications work for the Thomas
Roe disagreed that its inappropriate for
a county auditor to claim credit for a national
accounting award in which the grading criteria
were prepared by an outside auditor. Roe also
blasted Susan Montee for her own accounting practices
in Buchanan County, where Montee offices just
30 miles north of Thomas, who works in Platte
""Montees books dont comply
with generally accepted accounting principles
(GAAP), so she cant get a clean report in
Buchanan County. Theres a reason why Susan
Montee is not an award-winner. She is in the Flintstones'
era of accounting right in Buchanan County. She
cant get her audits qualified," Roe
told The Landmark on Wednesday.
Sean Spence in his statements on Monday backed
up the respectability of the finance officers
organization while simultaneously downplaying
the significance of the accounting awards that
Thomas frequently highlights.
"The certificate is issued as long as the
county submits their financial reports and application
according to the organizations guidelines,
regardless of any level of incompetence found
by outside auditors," Spence said.
"The Government Finance Officers Association
is a reputable organization, and their Certificate
of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
Program is based solely on the presentation
of information, rather than the quality of the
content," Spence asserted on Monday.