The article titled “City leaders tout financial excellence award” in the October 2-3 edition of The Rocky Mount Telegram discussed the city of Rocky Mount receiving a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting.
This is great news and should be commended; however, the article goes on to report how members of the City Council see this recognition as a rebuttal to claims that Rocky Mount is not a well-run city (financially) and even as a way to refute findings from the audit by the state auditor.
The national Government Finance Officers Association is the organization who bestowed the award upon Rocky Mount and other cities who applied for the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting as part of the CAFR Program. To quote directly from their website in a description of the certificate, it says, “the goal of the program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves.”
Therefore, the certificate the city received is to recognize the reporting practices of the city, not the actual financials. In reality, this award further supports the findings of the audit done by State Auditor Beth Wood. Having reporting practices recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association further validates the findings of individuals or organizations who use those reports when investigating the finances of the city.