State audit uncovers financial reporting errors at Thurston PUD

A recent audit of the Thurston Public Utility District, a water utility, unearthed several financial reporting errors, according to a management letter released by the state Auditor’s Office in December.

The errors did not rise to the level of a “finding” — a more serious financial reporting problem — but if uncorrected, they could become one, PUD General Manager John Weidenfeller said last week.

The errors since have been corrected, he said, adding that the PUD hasn’t had a finding in six years.

“We accept the constructive advice of the state Auditor’s Office and will take it under advisement and do better in the next audit period,” Weidenfeller said.

Here’s some of what the 2013 audit found:

Weidenfeller said the errors could be traced to a small staff that had a busy 2013, including working on a recently completed asset management plan.

That kept the chief financial officer busy, he said, and they also changed accountants in 2013.

Among the auditor’s recommendations: Dedicate time and resources so that “procedures are in place, such as close supervision and oversight, to ensure general ledger balances are valid, accurate, complete and adequately supported.”

The PUD owns or manages more than 150 water systems inside and outside the county. It has about 3,500 customers, 42 percent of whom are in the Tanglewilde area near Lacey.