Rules of order

To the Editor:

I continue to believe the 11th edition of Robert's Rules of Order and Clarified Procedures should be read by the majority of the select board to include the powers of the board and it's chairman.

I was especially interested in the 2011 Audit Report. The answers however, left St. Johnsbury with a road to carefully follow and we do have the correct software in place, to include professional training if needed for our office staff.

On the heals of 2011, we now have 2012 coming down, with a very poor assessment. The first point is huge - and yes municipal government accounting is totally different accounting than private. We, do not have anyone with that background, to include education.

It is time to do the right thing and not by hiring an assistant to the assistant to the assistant. That practice only complicates an already bad situation. Hiring the right person first really matters.

Changing our old out-dated ways could help instead of hinder.

To obtain positive results in the area of Planning - setting policy and yet formalizing the decision making - with a balanced more or less straight financial bottom line at budget time, to help avoid a spike in taxes at year end. Besides setting goals for one year a Capital budget should be developed six years out - to include the town plan, for projects of the future and money owed on past capital improvements.

For the budget process to be balanced and effective - the operative annual budget as well as the Capital budget must be interrelated. It is the entire responsibility of the select board to see to it, that the effects of policy on capital outlays are thoroughly examined.

In maintaining financial reports, most local governments follow standards, prescribed by the National Council of Government Accounting and Municipal Finance Officers Ass.

If St. Johnsbury would consider going by these standards to include background in education, in the financial field - much of what is coming forward in the 2012 audit could be avoided in the future.

When are we going to listen, and who are we going to listen to?

Nancy Cohen

St. Johnsbury, Vt.


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