MANATEE COUNTY — The Manatee County School Board will hire a national consulting firm to conduct a forensic audit of the district’s finances.
School Board members voted unanimously Monday, Oct. 15, to engage with Navigant, a specialized global-expert services firm, for auditing services. Trenam Kemter, the law firm the School Board has hired to oversee the auditing process, will retain the company on behalf of the board.
A representative of the school district’s audit committee, comprised of three citizen members and two board members, brought forward the recommendation.
“I’m excited about the selection,” said Lynn Lineman, vice chairman of and business representative on the audit committee. “I think they’re a fantastic (company). They will have an overall view of … whatever broke down. It’s not enough to come in and audit the numbers. They need to know what took place. I think they are well-equipped (for this task).”
School Board member Karen Carpenter, one of the School Board representatives on the audit committee, said she liked Navigant’s experience, as well.
“They’ve done this before, and they’re not connected to anyone here in Manatee County,” she said, noting the district is working hard to ensure the audit is conducted independently and without influence of the School Board.
Brigid Merenda, of Trenam Kemker, said Navigant is ready to start work as soon as an engagement letter is received. The company, she said, likely will take a phased approach to the audit, and it plans to review the School Board’s budgets from at least the last two years.
“It will be a full forensic review — a full forensic investigation of books and records,” she said.
School Board members agreed in mid-September to have an external forensic audited conducted on the district’s budget, after Manatee County Schools’ former superintendent, Tim McGonegal, resigned suddenly Sept. 10 — three days after revealing the district was facing a $3.4 million deficit because of accounting errors.
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