MORGAN -- In the aftermath of criminal financial charges against its former council administrator, the Morgan County Council has hired a new independent auditor.
Council Chairman Sid Creager said the county could benefit from "other eyes" scrutinizing the county's finances. Of the four auditing firms that recently submitted bids, the council chose certified public accountants Ulrich & Associates of Ogden, based on the low bid of $11,750. The company is expected to prepare the county's 2010 audit.
For years, Wood Richards & Associates provided auditing services for the county, the Morgan County School District and Morgan city. Last month, the school district voted to solicit bids for auditing services.
Auditor Lynn Wood said he elected not to submit a bid in the county's latest request in order to "smooth out the political process" in the county.
"As auditors, we do financial audits, not fraud audits," said Wood, whose firm audited the county's 2008 and 2009 finances. "We look for accounting errors. When we suspect fraud, we stop and turn it over to the county attorney."
But the four bidding auditors were all prepared to take on fraud.
The bidders -- including Wisan, Smith, Racker & Prescott, LLP of Salt Lake City; Litz & Co of Roy; and Schmitt, Griffiths, Smith & Co. of Ogden -- provided bids with a provision for "fraud issues."
The council was eager to get the new auditor on board.
"We are behind the curve on this, as far as scheduling," said Creager, who didn't want to delay the decision until January.
While the motion to select Ulrich & Associates' bid passed unanimously, some council members were concerned that the bid included only 175 hours worth of work, while other bids claimed the audit would require twice that.
However, Councilman Alvin Lundgren said Chuck Ulrich's previous experience with the county uniquely qualifies the firm. The firm previously helped the county balance deposit trust funds used to cover such expenses as geotechnical review fees.
Wood said the county's new auditor has a big job ahead.
"It's going to be a real accounting mess, requiring complicated accounting," Wood said.