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Monday, October 3, 2022
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MALONE: FINANCE IN CHAOS

The post audit report analyzing the proposed Financial Accountability Bill began by blasting the government's handling of its financial affairs, calling the situation at the Finance Department "chaotic."
The report points out one deficiency after another, starting with the fact the there has not been an audited financial statement completed since 1994.
Post Auditor Campbell Rone Malone also reported that the Finance Department "admitted recently that there are numerous transactions still at the department level of which Finance has no knowledge."
In commenting on the bill's mandatory balanced budget section Malone said the bill assumes "governmental truth" but points out that a prior year budget showed revenues from casino operations, when there are no casinos in the Virgin Islands.
Malone suggests a third-party, independent firm should examine revenue plans to assure that the underlying assumptions are correct.
Malone echoed concerns expressed by testifiers at the hearing earlier this week and the League of Women voters in saying the attrition program section of the bill is ambiguous. He suggests that a percentage limitation relative to payroll be imposed instead of using estimated numbers of employees.
"For example, while the number of positions may decrease, if the salaries that are paid out to the new employees are so exorbitant, then we really haven't done anything."
The report took issue with other parts of the bill including the provision calling for a "fixed debt ceiling."
Malone said the problems are worse than what is set out in the preamble of the bill.

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