The GVR Board of Directors approved up to $50,000 for the Fiscal Affairs Committee to hire an outside firm to review the staffs' accounting approach and reporting methodology.

But opponents say it's the committee's lack of understanding that's the issue and that spending the money is unnecessary.

The committee and GVR staff disagree over whether the organization ended 2018 with a deficit or a surplus. Committee chair Carol Crothers said there is confusion among committee members about whether the 2018 audit's report shows a $495,163 surplus. Staff maintains there is a deficit.

The motion was approved Wednesday in a narrow 7-5 vote with directors Donna Coon, Christine Gallegos, Denise Nichols, Don Weaver and Michael Zelenak voting against. The $50,000 to hire an independent analyst would come from GVR's initiatives fund.

Much of the contention comes from the internal financial reports produced by the staff for the committee. Nichols pointed to the reports as being the reason behind the confusion.

"I'm disappointed that this whole thing has come to the point where we need to hire an outside person to come in and give us correct reports," she said.

CEO Kent Blumenthal disagreed, saying the staff reports are proper and accurate.

"We have provided infinitum to meet expectations of every committee on the board when requested," Blumenthal said. "The information, and an argument, for their each respective report, we cannot commit or oblige to presenting an understanding. That's up to the individuals."

Blumenthal noted that while there may be a lack of understanding about the individual reports, the staff has provided them as they are requested.

GVR member Steve Gilbert objected to the motion before the vote, saying it was a matter of the board not having members with enough financial experience and the hiring of an outside analyst amounted to a tutoring session.

Crothers noted that the committee has former CPAs, business CEOs, executive-level managers and a former chief financial officer.

"I feel bad having to go to a third party," Crothers said after the meeting. "I don't even want to imply that they're not doing internal accurate reports. I think they are, but they're not translating that information into membership reports. And that's what we're looking for."

 Crothers said she isn't disputing the accuracy of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, GAAP, audit reports. She is disputing the internal non-GAAP reports' claims that there is a deficit instead of a surplus.

"I'm very hopeful that bringing someone in will help us straighten this out," Crothers said. "I'm hopeful we can spend a lot less than $50,000. I just want to get it sorted out and in the long run, I think, we'll be paid back on that money. That investment."

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732


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