January 2012 to Present
This listing is a summarization of the more noteworthy initiatives, both new and ongoing, of the Westmoreland County Controller's Office. These accomplishments would not be possible without the dedicated effort put forth by the professional staff members of the Controller's Office. Collectively, we have made a difference.
We have received the Government Finance Officers' Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Financial Reporting for six consecutive years. This report is designed to meet the needs of the average taxpayer in their quest to better understand the financial affairs of the county. We change the design of the report annually with the goal of providing continuing education to our taxpayers. We will continue to produce this report in the hope of promoting and enhancing a better understanding of county government.
We have received the Government Finance Officers' Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the past 28 years. Maintaining excellence in financial reporting requires constant attention to ever-changing accounting standards and evaluating the applicability of those standards to our institution that is also in a constant state of flux. We continue to prioritize financial reporting in compliance with the highest established guidelines for government reporting.
We maintain a staff of degreed and certified professionals whose mission is to perform the work of the County Controller's office in accordance with all applicable industry standards and the County Code.
Actively working with external counsel, the County Solicitor and the retirement fund custodian to recover damages from companies whose actions harmed the interests of the members of the Westmoreland County Employee Retirement Fund.
Fuel Tax Rebate
The fuel tax assisted the Department of Public Works in securing a $20,492 fuel tax rebate from the PA Department of Revenue for tax improperly collected by our fuel supplier.
Instituted program of random intensive reviews of employee travel practices. This ongoing effort has so far resulted in disciplinary action being taken against employees, expenses being disallowed and was the impetus for improved management oversight being implemented.
We continue to promote direct deposit program for county employees and retirees resulting in savings for check processing.
Promoted better utilization of county-owned vehicles to decrease the total cost of employee travel for the county.
Bids / Quotes
We carefully monitor this area to ensure that competitive quotes or bids are obtained as legally required. We also expanded the bid list to insure that the county receives the largest number of competitive bids.
Internet Access / Digital Imaging
Continue to support enhanced access to Controller's information. In process of planning roll-out of new bid system in conjunction with the county's new web page.
Continue to work with the County Sheriff, Courts and Board of County Commissioners to implement and refine constable procedures in the wake of an order of court centralizing warrant processing with the County Sheriff.
Continuing program of enhanced reviews of selected county contracts designed to compliance with contractual provisions.
Employee Pension Benefit Statements
Continue to provide employee pension benefit statements. These statements are designed to educate and inform employees regarding their accrued pension benefits. The pension benefit statements are issued annually to employees who have vested rights in the retirement fund.
Continued policy of checking all taxpayer identification numbers of vendors in order to maximize compliance with IRS rules and regulations.
Copier Steering Committee
- Participated in an effort to review and revise the county's approach to procuring copier / imaging technology.
- Advocated for a pre-need assessment and re-establishing the procurement of this type of equipment through normal purchasing channels utilizing a lowest responsible bidder approach.
We have faithfully maintained a philosophy of encouraging public interest and access to public records. Most recently we implemented a web-based system of inquiry permitting 24/7 access to virtually all contracts to which the county is a party.
Assisted the County Treasurer and Commissioner's Cash Management Unit in a review of banking services that resulted reduced fees, increased security and greater service to the county.
In an effort to set the County's accounts payable processes on par with modern, private-sector practices we are in the process of instituting a number of enhanced routines to improve efficiency and accuracy in our A/P operation. These efforts include ACH payments, P-Cards and the importing of recurring transactions. We are also exploring the feasibility of receiving electronic invoices.
In-house Pension Quotation Software
Secured authority from the retirement board to implement an in-house Pension Quotation System supplied by our actuary. This should streamline the process of counseling prospective retirees and permit greater access to "what-if" scenario questions raised by our members.
Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline
Established telephone/web-based hotline to enable citizens, employees and vendors to report incidents of suspect fraud, waste and abuse of County tax dollars. This resource is designed to aid in the prevention and detection of fraud, theft, waste or abuse involving officials, employees, consultants, vendors, agencies or people doing business with Westmoreland County.
In conjunction with the County Solicitor, revised and update the County's Anti-Fraud policy to better detail the responsibility of all officials and employees to prevent and detect fraudulent activities. Promoted policy to "dove-tail" with Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline.
Major System Upgrade
Engaged in acquisition and planning for the first major entity-wide upgrade of accounting, payroll and human resource systems in 23 years. System will be an Internet Explorer browser-based, Microsoft compliant and compatible and will substantially enhance the reporting capabilities available versus the current AS/400-based system.