New firm to track Bertie School finances

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Education hopes to soon have a clearer understanding of its financial situation.

Thursday afternoon, the board agreed to the terms of a contract to hire Rives and Associates to provide their 2009-10 audit and look into the current financial condition of the district.

Hank Hurd, who recently retired as Interim Superintendent of Durham Public Schools, came before the board to present the qualifications of Rives and Associates, a firm he joined last month.

“We stand ready to come in and tell you where you are,” Hurd said.

Rives and Associates is based in Lexington, but has offices in both Charlotte and Raleigh. With a staff of more than 50, the firm has been in existence for more than 25 years.

Hurd said if the board had not entered an audit contract, it would be beneficial to have Rives and Associates do the audit at the same time they were looking through other financial documents.

“We would love to do the audit,” he said. “We could save money by doing them at the same time.”

Hurd said Rives could begin work quickly if the board desired.

“We will literally start work on the way back to Raleigh,” he said.

With school getting ready to begin, Hurd said it was important for the district to get a handle on its financial means. He said the firm would immediately begin work so as to allow the board to have information about what money was available for teachers. “Have you ever taught,” board member Pamela Chamblee asked.

Hurd said he hadn’t been a teacher, but had taught principals about finances in the Principal’s Executive Program.

Chamblee then asked about what help the firm would provide the board and staff in the area of finances.

“When you leave, will you have trained people to help us maintain what you’ve done after you’re gone,” Chamblee asked.

Hurd said, “If all we do is the work and don’t show your staff what we’re doing, we’re not helping.”

He also said Rives and Associates would help the school board with putting a finance officer in place, if they chose to fill that position.

Chamblee asked for confirmation of when the process would begin.

“We’ll start immediately,” Hurd said. “Time is of the essence. This is the eleventh hour.”

Hurd also indicated a full team would be in the administrative offices of Bertie County Schools today (Tuesday).

Board Chairperson Gloria Lee asked how much the board would know by the time the Early College High School goes into session on August 9 and Hurd said an interim report could be given by that time.

Lee asked if Rives and Associates could include training board members and Hurd said that would not be a problem.

“I’m satisfied with what I’ve heard,” said board member Alton Parker.

Parker then asked about fees.

Hurd said Rives would do all the work for whatever the district paid for its audit in 2009, plus $50,000. Bertie County Schools paid $13,516.62 for the audit performed last fiscal year.

“We believe there is a lot of value added to our services,” Hurd said.

He indicated the firm would not only do the audit, but do breakdowns that showed where the districts money was being spent and what they could expect in the coming year.

“We desperately need to get this done as quickly as possible,” Lee said.

Chamblee then made a motion to hire Rives and Associates at the price quoted. It passed without objection.