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Monday, December 11, 2006

Tick tock -- or is it tick tick tick?

Where, oh where, are the City of Portland's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006? Why is it taking so long for them to be released? Last year, the city's money gurus (one of whom has since abruptly retired) submitted them on December 2; the year before that, on November 3; the year before that, on November 3.

Is there something in there this year that our elected officials and their pricey accountants can't agree on? Is there bad news in there that they don't want us to see right now? They wouldn't purposely delay releasing this document in hopes that it would get lost in Christmas -- would they? (Hey, it works when you're sneaking a methadone clinic into a neighborhood -- thanks, Lolenzo.)

Anyway, the longer we wait, the closer we'll have to pick that one over when it finally sees the light of day. I'm sure lots of drafts have been circulated around City Hall -- any chance that we can see those, fellas?

Comments (10)

Patience! S&P barely finished with PGE. They're just now starting to dig into Sam's "suggestions".

You won't believe this, but I highly doubt that anything "funny" is going on. Preparing financial statements for an entity as large as the City of Portland is incredibly complex. Add to that the constantly shifting requirements imposed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and AICPA and you get an insanely complex task. Finally, the financial statements are totally unintelligible to most people working in government (including the rating agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's) - its not like the City needs more time to make them confusing.

Seriously, it is pretty typical for local governments to take 5-6 months from fiscal year end to complete the audit and prepare financial statements. Start wondering if they don't show up by December 31st.

The city financials may be like the PDC financials, slow to come or never to come. When the PDC attorney/financial officer was asked about NM URA financils that is required by state law, he merely replied; "We think we have complied to the intent of the state statute, in our opinion." The PDC financials provides no performance audit of how URA's perform in accordance to Oregon's statutes. It would be helpful if some accounting knowledgeable bloggers could review PDC's "financials". And it would be interesting if the State Attorney could investigate whether the statute is being met.


I think this time you are fishing for a problem when likley none exists. If the city changed auditors this year, it could be taking longer to get the financial statements done. They have used Moss Adams as their auditors in the past, and they are a large regional accounting firm.

You may have answered your own question: "Last year, the city's money gurus (one of whom has since abruptly retired)" If the city accounting staff has had turnover, this can delay the statements. Staff is relied upon to provide the numbers and the schedules, the auditors "audit" those numbers.

They are not due to the Secretary of State's office until December 31, plus an extension is available.

Plus the city does not just do financials, they submit a CAFR, which takes extra time to prepare. Also, based on the report that you linked, their CAFR has been award winning (the GFOA's Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting).

I appreciate when you do find problems Jack, but I wouldn't link the filing date to a smoking gun just yet.

We'll never know until we see them. Some years they'd be six weeks old by now.

"I think this time you are fishing for a problem when likley none exists."

Two things:

1) A $2B corporation has to have audiot info by a set date or the stockholders/legal entities get upset.

2) CoP has strung together so many house of cards deals, they have to do a lot of covering to bury stuff under deep cover. THe more complex the deals, the more likely to go south, the more they need to cover.

Steve, the problem with your theory is that it assumes the City accounting folks are smart enough to construct the coverup. If Enron's accountants can't do it, I don't see the City's accountants pulling it off.

Nothing to see here, Jack. Move along.



If you rent the movie, Enron the smartest people in the room, you will see that Enron accountants and their partners in Arthur Anderson and the investment banks on NYC did pull it off for many many years.

Hmmm, any sign of the 2006 CAFR yet? It is not yet on the Office of Management and Finance website.

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