Regional Coalition Of LANL Communities Sending Letter Seeking Reimbursement Of Improperly Handled Funds

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By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
caclark@ladailypost.com

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) Board of Directors held its April meeting virtually Friday afternoon due to the state mandate for social distancing.

Among the routine agenda items was a presentation by the RCLC’s contracted legal counsel Nancy Long. Long presented what was described as a final assessment of all audits and reports over previously uncovered financial mismanagement identified in fiscal years 2013-2018.

Long went through a detailed review of available data including audits dating back to 2013 and the Adams + Crow report, commissioned by Los Alamos County.

Long stated that the audits and reports demonstrated that the original financial problems had been born out of neglect and that the findings indicate no criminal activity or attempt to deceive was made by any of the parties.

And while most of the questionable expenses have been properly accounted for by the RCLC, Long said that disagreements remain about how to categorize certain expenditures, which could mean up to $8,000 was improperly reimbursed. Those reimbursements in question went to former RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero. In 2018, Romero paid back to Los Alamos County some $2,200 in reimbursed expenses deemed inappropriate at that time. Her contract with the RCLC ended in early 2018 and was not renewed. She now serves as a state representative for Santa Fe County Dist. 46.

In the meeting, Los Alamos County Councilor and RCLC Treasurer David Izraelevitz asked Long for recommendations, and after board discussion, the RCLC board instructed Long to prepare a letter asking Romero to reimburse those questionable reimbursements.

Responding to a request for comment from the Los Alamos Daily Post, Romero said early this morning in an email, “Until I see the letter from the RCLC, I won’t be able to comment.”

During the discussion, Long also said the RCLC board has recently adopted strong financial procedures that should prevent future financial findings. Beginning in 2018, the RCLC Board has adopted the Office of State Auditor recommendations and new financial procedures, hired an independent accountant and legal counsel, conducted six years of Tier 4 procedures audits, and performed one full compliance audit.

The independent auditor firm of Kubiak, Melton and Associates (KMA), reported the final results of the FY19 audit in a March 20, RCLC Board meeting. At that meeting, KMA informed the RCLC Board that KMA had submitted a “Full Financial Procedures” audit conducted for fiscal year 2019 to the New Mexico State Auditor and reported an unmodified or clean opinion. KMA said RCLC accounts are now considered accurate and in full compliance with state audit requirements.

RCLC Chair Henry Roybal spoke with the Post Saturday about the final audit results.

“It’s been a long road and I’m glad to see this chapter closed … it is our fiduciary responsibility and we’ve hired an attorney and independent auditors to ensure everything is in order and we are sending a letter to Ms. Romero to request that the funds be returned,” Roybal said. “I am really proud of our board and our Executive Director Eric Vasquez … they are all doing a great job and I’m honored with the confidence they have placed in me in electing me their chairman. With all this behind us we can now become the organization we were meant to be.”

The next RCLC Board meeting is scheduled for May 15.

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