WRD Establishes Audit & Budget Advisory Committee to Increase Transparency and Accountability
Committee comprised of district pumpers will advise on financial functions of audit and budget processes
LAKEWOOD, Calif., Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Board of Directors of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) took the unprecedented step to establish an Audit & Budget Advisory Committee (ABAC) that will provide input on two of the agency’s top financial functions, its audits and budget processes. The move is a voluntary effort to increase transparency and insure accountability in these two areas.
“The Board took this important step today to provide the kind of transparency that the public and our pumpers deserve to have,” stated Board President Sergio Calderon. “We believe public agencies have an obligation to the public to let them know how their dollars are being spent and to pursue best practices that give them a voice in that decision-making process.”
Under the new arrangement, the committee would be comprised of a WRD Chairperson appointed by the Board President, two members appointed to represent the Central and West Basin Water Associations, respectively, representative cities from each of the two groundwater basins as well as representatives from other stakeholder entities, such as the Los Angeles County Sanitation district.
The District will consult with the ABAC during the planning phase of its Comprehensive Annual Financial Audit (CAFA). Members will be kept informed on the all issues related to the audit, including consultation on the audit evaluation. Similarly, the District will work closely with the ABAC on the annual budget and rate setting process. The role of the committee, however, will remain advisory, as the District will maintain the ultimate decision-making authority.
“We believe this system will afford us, the ratepayers, a stronger voice in financial practices that insure clean, safe and high quality water that’s less expensive than imported water,” stated Rob Beste, Public Work Director, City of Torrance. “WRD has taken the lead in advancing accountability which we hope other public agencies will follow.”
WRD has won seven consecutive Meritorious Awards for Excellence by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers for its budget documents and processes.
The District has also been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for seven straight years for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Earlier this year, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s graded the WRD with a “AA+” rating, indicating a very strong financial standing based on WRD’s financial strength, stability, and sound fiscal management.
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California is the regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater for two of the most utilized urban basins in the State of California. The service area is home to over ten percent of California’s population residing in 43 cities in southern Los Angeles County. WRD is governed by a publicly elected Board of Directors including Willard H. Murray, Jr., Robert Katherman, Lillian Kawasaki, Sergio Calderon, and Albert Robles.
For more information please visit WRD at www.wrd.org
SOURCE Water Replenishment District of Southern California