Meetings are held remotely. From wellfleet-ma.gov, hover over a date on the calendar on the right of the screen and click on the meeting you’re interested in for its agenda and information about how to view and take part remotely.
Thursday, April 22
- Local Housing Partnership, 4 p.m.
- Natural Resources Advisory Board, 4:30 p.m.
- Select Board, 6 p.m.
Friday, April 23
- Bike and Walkways Committee, 10 a.m.
Monday, April 26
- Dredging Task Force, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 27
- Nauset Schools Policy Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m.
- Select Board, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, April 28
- Special Education Parent Advisory Council, 9:30 a.m.
- Joint Meeting of the Nauset School Committee, 5 p.m.
An ‘Alarming’ Audit
The select board spent much of its four-hour April 13 meeting discussing the same issue that dominated its April 5 session: with town meeting approaching, some budgets bear little resemblance to what department heads say they need. Also, a slew of deficiencies brought to light by auditors will take “two to three years” to fix, said Town Accountant Heather Michaud.
During a discussion of department heads’ fiscal 2022 capital budgets, select board member Ryan Curley pointed out the “significant” number of items in the town’s five-year capital improvement plan left out of the board packet. Fire Chief Richard Pauley began shaking his head, and Police Chief Michael Hurley and former Town Administrator Harry Terkanian could be seen resting their heads in their hands.
“This capital plan is totally incomplete,” said Chief Pauley, noting the absence of an ambulance replacement, among other items. “I don’t know where to begin with this. With all due respect, I’m just about at my wits’ end.”
Town Administrator Maria Broadbent took responsibility for the omissions, which the DPW’s Mark Vincent said included “at least another seven items” for his department. “We didn’t intentionally leave it out,” said Broadbent. “It just didn’t make it into your packet.”
Items presented to the select board amounted to only “a third” of the town’s actual capital budget, said Curley. But citing the town meeting time crunch, the board voted 5-0 to approve all the items included in the packet as debt exclusions on the annual town meeting warrant; each missing item, said board chair Michael DeVasto, will become a separate warrant article.
The town administrator eventually took the floor to explain her report, which DeVasto called “very alarming.”
According to Broadbent, an April 7 conference call with the audit team from Powers & Sullivan revealed that Wellfleet “has been cited for a material weakness,” that is, “a deficiency … in internal control … related to cash reconciliations and processes.” Other “substantial issues” included lack of vendor records and management, not properly following contractual pay rates and benefit day accruals, an inadequate chart of accounts, and nine other issues — “to name a few.” Broadbent said the auditors would present all their findings to the select board at some point in May.
Asked by DeVasto about the scope of the town’s difficulties — “is it just bad accounting practices carried on by a few people?” — Broadbent said there was “no way of knowing right now.” —Josephine de La Bruyère