PRESS RELEASE - June 22, 2010
CONTACT: Daniel Vandever, Public Information Officer
||Navajo Nation Fair Parade 2009
Special Review of the 2008 and 2009 Navajo Nation Fair
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Office of the Auditor General issued a special review to the Public of the 2008 and 2009 Navajo Nation Fair on Tuesday, June 15.
The first finding in Audit Report No. 10 – 13 showed that the two fairs incurred a combined loss of more than $400,000. Over the two years, the Navajo Nation Fair generated $2.42 million in revenues; however, expenses totaled $2.83 million. True analysis of the finding shows that the revenues increased from 2008-2009. The increase in expenses was due, in part, to the requirements by the Auditor General in 2008. These increases were for more workers to monitor entrance gates, equipment rental for cash registers, additional security for monitoring and improvements in sanitation services.
The second finding showed that there was a lack of control over revenues and expenses. Due to lack of uncollected receivables, the Fair lost approximately $36,000 from unpaid ticket sales, booth rentals, badges and parade entry fees. Other errors found that there was a disappearance of $5,000 cash that was not deposited, that no cost/benefit analysis was performed prior to the event, exempt employees were additionally compensated for working the Fair and payments to workers were not reported to Internal Revenue Services.
Although the findings were true in 2008, much of the receivables described as uncollected were collected after the new fiscal year started and thereby would not be reflected in 2008. The corrective action was implemented in 2009 resulting in no uncollected receivables.
Also in the audit findings showed that the capital improvement of the Fairground facilities was not made a priority. On two separate occasions inspections were made that revealed numerous problems that posed health risk problems for Fair patrons, and no real improvements were made.
Norma Bowman stated, “Improving the Fairgrounds is a major priority of the department, not the Navajo Nation. The department developed a Master Plan for the fairgrounds, which have not been considered for future funding. The Department has notified tribal officials and legislative committees through various reports and a Master Plan to no avail.”
The final finding showed that the Exceptional Rodeo bank account was opened using the Navajo Nation’s tax employer identification number; however, the bank account signers were not authorized. The bank account activities for a four-year period found that $7,982 of withdrawals was made, but they could not be verified as expended for the Exceptional Rodeo.
While the four findings elicited negative information, the findings shed light on room for improvement for the Navajo Nation Fair Office. Based on the findings, the Navajo Nation Fair Office is taking the necessary steps to correct the findings.
“While the audit report did reveal several negative findings, it was necessary because it helped us pin point the inefficiencies that were occurring around the Fair,” explained Ray Russell, the Department Director of Parks and Recreation. “We can only go off this report to better our department so we can better serve the Navajo Nation.”
Parks and Recreation has already begun correcting their mistakes by limiting expenses to the resources available and taking the necessary steps to ensure that the production of the Fair is administered efficiently. The Department has also taken steps to ensure that collections are being reconciled periodically, payments are done by checks and that all wages are reported to the IRS with the appropriate compensation.
Necessary steps into improving the fairgrounds has also begun with an update of the 2005 master plan to prioritize the infrastructural and maintenance issues, quarterly inspections and resolving of the safety inspection findings. Lastly, the Department has begun to hold accountable the Exceptional Rodeo Committee responsible for the unaccounted withdrawals.
While the Office of the Auditor General did just recently report these findings, the Parks and Recreation Department has been battling the inefficiencies of how the Fair has been managed since 2001.
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