The state auditor’s office has released its report on the Greenbrier County Airport Authority’s finances for the fiscal year 2014, finding the Greenbrier Valley Airport’s governing board to be too lax in its financial oversight to release an official opinion on the airport’s books.
Citing “material weaknesses” in the airport’s financial record keeping, the report on internal control found several weaknesses including a lack of accordance with the Government Auditing Standards.
According to the report, the airport authority
• had not implemented proper control procedures to sufficiently segregate duties
• did not monitor lease revenues to the extent necessary to properly record and track rent receivables and delinquent accounts
• had not formally developed and adopted a policies and procedures manual governing the administrative and financial activities of the Authority or airport employees
• failed to maintain detailed capital assets and depreciation schedules, losing custodial control over certain assets that are susceptible to theft
• had “ineffective oversight” over employees and management, who did not possess the requisite amount of knowledge or experience necessary to prevent, detect and correct a material misstatement in the financial statement
• had inadequate policies and procedures related to controls necessary to minimize the risk of a material misstatement of financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, leaving “significant potential” for “misstatements to occur in the financial statements without being detected”
• did not maintain adequate accounting records
• authorized expenditures that may have been for personal expenses and reimbursements for meals and incidentals above amounts allowed by the Internal Revenue Service
• failed to retain certain records for examination including invoices
In an interview last month, Airport Authority Chairman Lowell Johnson said the board had for several years taken a “laissez faire” approach to airport management. Jerry O’Sullivan served as airport manager for 22 years before suddenly retiring last February. Chief Financial Officer Linda Yoak also retired this past summer after being placed on administrative leave. This past Tuesday, the authority held a special meeting where they voted to terminated the employment of Cheryl Davis, who was just promoted to the position of director of operations last month.
Davis had reportedly worked at the airport for 16 years before she was escorted off of the property on Monday, Sept. 14.
Following the meeting, airport manager Stephen Snyder and authority members Johnson and Michael McClung declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Davis’ dismissal. Snyder instead attempted to direct the conversation toward the future of the airport, noting that accounting changes recommended by the state auditor’s office are already being made.
“I want to make sure people have faith in us,” he said, as he described his desire to help Greenbrier County realize its potential to be the “Vail, Colorado, of the East.”
Snyder discussed his dissatisfaction with the air service schedule offered by Silver Airways, whose contract with Greenbrier Valley Airport is set to expire in September 2016. Snyder and the authority will begin accepting proposals from other airlines to provide service to the Greenbrier Valley between January and May 2016.
When asked by the Mountain Messenger how he would respond to Greenbrier County residents who say it’s too expensive to fly out of Greenbrier Valley Airport, Snyder responded that by offering an airline that is consistently on time, free parking, short lines and a short commute, the airport can begin to show value to its local potential customers.
“I’m making a ‘passionate plea,’” he said, “Hang with me, folks. We have incredible potential here.”