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Trenton Mayor Asks DCA for Forensic Audit
Release Date: October 04, 2018

Trenton Mayor Asks DCA for Forensic Audit

To ensure compliance with State regulation going forward, Mayor Gusciora calls on DCA to appoint a forensic auditor to review city finances

TRENTON, N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora called on New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to commission a forensic audit into City of Trenton financial records today. Due to the lack of stringent bookkeeping, city staff under the new administration are now experiencing difficulties interpreting financial records. This includes differentiation in reporting and other budgetary inconsistencies, as Mayor Gusciora pointed out in his letter.

“We need fiscal prudence and responsible stewardship of city finances which is why I’m asking for a thorough review as soon as possible,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We want the process going forward to be transparent and accountable, and we want to make sure dollars are spent wisely in the city. A third-party review seems warranted and I would appreciate our partners at DCA giving this a hard look.”

Following Mayor Gusciora’s election, the City signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DCA, which has had authoritative control over city finances dating back through the administrations of Tony Mack and Eric Jackson, Gusciora’s predecessors, and under Gov. Chris Christie’s supervision. With the signing of a new MOU and the subsequent Executive Order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy, Mayor Gusciora is making efforts to begin a new, strengthened relationship with state officials.

“In order to ensure future compliance under the City’s Memorandum of Understanding with DCA; in furtherance of Executive Order No. 40; and in the interest of transparency, your assistance in undertaking a forensic audit would provide a forthright foundation as we embark on our renewed partnership with State agencies,” Mayor Gusciora wrote in his letter. “While I’m not certain that the City will recuperate any funds, I believe the State and the City owe it to the people of Trenton to understand what happened with City finances over the past eight years and how it will affect individuals and families going forward. Given the number of budget inconsistencies found in the City’s financial record-keeping, our citizenry deserves these answers.”

Letter text:

Dear Lt. Governor Oliver:

As you know, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 40 to spur a partnership between the City of Trenton and the State of New Jersey. It is in this spirit that I respectfully request that the Department of Community Affairs appoint or provide a forensic auditor to assist my administration in reviewing the City’s financial records.

In my first few months as Mayor of Trenton, I am only now fully realizing the depth of the City’s financial distress. Between isolated events such as a citywide property tax revaluation, anticipated reductions not planned for by prior Administrations including the expiration of public safety grants, and state-mandated cost increases for pensions and health care, the City finds itself in a fiscal bind.

Beyond these constraints, a review of our financial records indicates that past administrations may have used financial record-keeping that did not meet sound accounting principles and the regulatory requirements of DCA under its prior leadership. I am therefore interested in having a better understanding for myself and my constituents of whether previous administrations were adhering to fiscal best practices and complying with oversight restrictions.

In order to ensure future compliance under the City’s Memorandum of Understanding with DCA; in furtherance of Executive Order No. 40; and in the interest of transparency, your assistance in undertaking a forensic audit would provide a forthright foundation as we embark on our renewed partnership with State agencies. While I’m not certain that the City will recuperate any funds, I believe the State and the City owe it to the people of Trenton to understand what happened with City finances over the past eight years and how it will affect individuals and families going forward. Given the number of budget inconsistencies found in the City’s financial record-keeping, our citizenry deserves these answers.

I look forward to our continued partnership for the benefit of the State’s capital and its residents.

Sincerely,

W. Reed Gusciora

Mayor

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 CONTACT: Timothy J. Carroll

tcarroll@trentonnj.org



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