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Southington Receives 'Clean Bill of Health' from Blum Shapiro

The town is in great financial position and an audit of the department found no red flags regarding the town's policies, procedures or daily operations.

Over the past decade, the town of Southington has worked to put itself in a strong financial position. That work continues to pay off.

Members of the Board of Finance Wednesday heard a presentation from Joseph Kask, partner with Blum Shapiro & Co. of West Hartford, regarding an "unqualified audit opinion" of the financial process and operations audit that was recently completed. The findings were simple – Southington has a clean bill of health.

After reviewing procedures and looking through a wide variety of financial documents, including management of both town and Board of Education accounts, Kask said Blum Shapiro found “no deficiency concerns in control structure.” He furthermore stated that the town was receptive to the company review and both Finance Director Emilia Portelinha and Sherri-Lin DiNello, Director of Business and Finance, provided any requested documents without hesitation or delay.

“There were no difficulties or uncorrected statements; no disagreements really,” Kask said. “There were no deficiencies or material weaknesses and really, there’s nothing else we needed to discuss.”

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In late 2012, the town received a stellar rating from Standard & Poor’s as Southington was given a AA+ score for the second year in a row.

It’s an important move for the town as the community prepares to go back to referendum on an $89 million middle school renovation project and continues to work to address previously neglected infrastructure needs, officials said.

Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback credited the town’s staff for working closely and efficiently with elected officials to make this all possible.

“It was an extraordinarily well-done audit from top to bottom and it’s a source of pride as a town manager to have Joe (Kask) come forward to present this,” Brumback said. “The town has a complicated budget with a complex accounting process that includes multi-millions of dollars over dozens of accounts.”

“A lot of the things have been done doing to change the culture of how the town does business and the team has been extremely flexible and accountable,” he said.

The news gets better as well – the town is ahead of schedule on revenues and remains on budget as they head into the second half of the year, Portelinha said.

John Leary, chairman of the Board of Finance, said the board has worked hard and reached across partisan lines over the past decade to establish strong policies that have helped produce these positive results, but said the staff is the real reason for the success.

“This is a good thing for the town,” Leary said. “We are happy with everyone here, especially Emilia and her team.”

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