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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 16



Meeting Date: May 22, 2007

Subject/Title: Adopt a Resolution approving and authorizing the City Manager to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Maze and Associates as the City’s independent external audit firm for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2007 through June 30, 2009.

Prepared by: Kerry Breen, Business Services Manager

Submitted by: Pamela Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Systems



RECOMMENDATION
Adopt a Resolution approving and authorizing the City Manager to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Maze and Associates as the City’s independent external audit firm for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2007 through June 30, 2009.

PREVIOUS ACTION
The City has used Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co., LLP as their independent auditors for over a decade. While Vavrinek performed the duties of their contract well and we were satisfied with their performance, we felt that it was a good idea to have a “fresh set” of eyes examining our internal controls and our processes.

BACKGROUND
While auditor rotation is not mandatory, we feel that it is an important method by which additional assurance can be provided to both the City Council and management that the City is conducting business and operating in an appropriate manner.

The City underwent a competitive request for proposal process and requested bids from several qualifying audit firms. We received back the proposals, and the most qualified candidate was the auditing firm of Maze and Associates. After examining their credentials and conducting interviews with key firm staff we unanimously agreed that they were by far the best choice.

Maze and Associates works almost exclusively with cities and other municipal entities. They provide auditing, accounting, and advisory services to numerous governmental entities throughout California. Some of their clients include the Cities of Alameda, Benicia, Concord, Cupertino, Daly City, Hayward, Livermore, Manteca, Martinez, Milpitas, Modesto, Napa, Newark, Palo Alto, Roseville, and Vallejo. Their offices are located in Pleasant Hill. They also make a conscious effort to limit their practice in other areas and focus on their goal of being the best municipal audit firm in Northern California. Their audit strategy is tailored to municipalities and is quite different from the traditional approach adapted from commercial clients by general practice accounting firms. Maze and Associates is also focused on the quality of their staff. Their staff averages one hundred hours of continuing education per year – well above the State requirement of forty hours. Of those hours, at least eighty are specific to municipal audit and accounting while the State and government auditing standard requirements are just twenty four hours.

Maze and Associates also will bring with them an understanding of our new accounting software system, SunGard Bi-Tech due to their vast experience in auditing other municipalities. Client cities of Maze and Associates who also use SunGard Bi-Tech include the Cities of Davis, Manteca, Benicia, Daly City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Vallejo.

Upon completion of the annual audit in December, Maze and Associates will present their findings and recommendations to Council in the form of an Audit Management Letter, making themselves available to answer questions and address issues included in the letter.

FISCAL IMPACT
The City will budget for the cost of the annual audit in the 2007/08 – 2008/09 Operating Budget which will be brought to Council in June. The average annual cost for the three years of the agreement will be $61,844 and will be funded primarily through the General Fund, with an average annual amount of $5,167 being funded by the Redevelopment Agency.

Attachment:
Resolution


RESOLUTION NO.


A RESOLUTION APPROVING AND AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO EXECUTE A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH MAZE AND ASSOCIATES AS THE CITY’S INDEPENDENT EXTERNAL AUDIT FIRM FOR THE FISCAL YEARS ENDING JUNE 30, 2007 THROUGH JUNE 30, 2009

WHEREAS, auditor rotation is not mandatory, we feel that it is an important method by which additional assurance can be provided to both the City Council and management that the City is conducting business and operating in an appropriate manner; and

WHEREAS, the City underwent a competitive request for proposal process and requested bids from several qualifying audit firms; and

WHEREAS, the most qualified bidder was the auditing firm of Maze and Associates; and

WHEREAS, after examining Maze and Associate’s credentials and conducting interviews with key firm staff City staff unanimously agreed that they were by far the best choice; and

WHEREAS, City staff feels that the proposed audit team from Maze and Associates represents an extremely experienced and highly capable group that will bring new insight and observations to the City; and

WHEREAS, upon completion of the annual audit in December, Maze and Associates will present their findings and recommendations to Council in the form of an Audit Management Letter, making themselves available to answer questions and address issues included in the letter.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood does hereby approve the hiring of Maze and Associates as the City’s independent external audit firm for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2007 through June 30, 2009.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 22nd day of May 2007 by the following vote:




 

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