The Pennsylvania County Code for Counties of the Third Class sets forth the duties and responsibilities of the Controller’s Office. The Controller is required by these Pennsylvania statutes to maintain and keep all fiscal and accounting records and to assure compliance of all financial and fiscal records in accordance with the latest standards and procedures of the accounting profession. To accomplish these mandated responsibilities the Controller must also oversees satellite functions that perform data entry into the centralized governmental accounting system including the supervision of other accounting professionals within the County’s fiscal structure. The Controller receives reviews and approves requests for accounting entries from all County agency fiscal personnel; directs other accounting staff in the performance of similar functions and oversees the translation of departmental and agency requests into properly formatted accounting transactions suitable for entry into the County’s central accounting system. The Controller reconciles, adjusts and closes all County general ledgers; prepares all County financial statements and accompanying reports.
PRE-AUDIT OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Controller is responsible for the pre-audit of all disbursements and fiscal transactions, bank account reconciliation and audits of the accounts of all County elected officials (Row Offices and Magisterial District Justices). Pre-audits all invoices and disbursement requests must be done to insure proper recording of the transaction, expenditure proprieties, and verification of authorization signatures. Contracts are monitored during the contract work period to protect that overpayments are not made.
CONTRACTS, AGREEMENTS, AND LEASES
The Controller is required by County Code to maintain custody and stewardship of all County contracts. All such documents are recorded to insure that the physical documents are received after they are approved by the Board of Commissioners. The Controller perpetually monitors all contract, agreement and lease payments to ensure that no payment exceeds the limits or terms of those documents. Beginning January 1, 2009, all approved contracts are scanned and the images are retained according to the requirements set forth in the County Records Manual of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Division of Archives and Manuscripts. The physical documents are destroyed. The imaged contracts are retained indefinitely and are secured electronically as the State requires for such data storage.
The Controller is responsible for filing the County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and associated General Purpose Financial Statements with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.
Liquid Fuels Report – Although this is a responsibility that is to be performed by an Office under the oversight of the County Commissioners, the Controller’s Office has been doing this Annual Report for over 36 years at the request of the Board of Commissioners. This report is required to be filed by January 31st of each year with the State Department of Transportation.
Drug Forfeiture Fund Annual Report – and subsequent audit in conformance with the Controller Substance Forfeiture Act. The report is submitted to the State Attorney General’s Office.
Grant Financial Reports – Primarily involving grant quarterly financial reporting to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). This financial reporting is done for each of the County departments that administer these grants. The Controller is designated as the Financial Officer for all Grants originating from the PCCD. This includes the responsibility to prepare an Audit Plan for the Controller’s signature to be filed with each of the PCCD Grant applications.
ANNUAL AUDIT RESPONSIBILITIES
The Controller coordinates and is the central contact for all audits of the central accounting system, fiscal subsidiary records, grants and programs. The Controller is the chief contact and conduit for the requesting of reports and financial information of the County, the Human Services Agency programs, the Indirect Cost Plan audit, the County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial report, and associated Audied General Purpose Financial Statements. The Controller ensures that contracted fee payments that are made for the audit services do not exceed the limit approved by the Commissioners. The Controller provides assistance to the Independent Auditor's by obtaining information and pertinent documents necessary from affiliated Authorities, Boards, and Commissions considered inclusive in the financial reporting of the County because they relate to the County’s financial component structure. Special Audits, additional accounting, or auditing services are entrusted to the Controller for handling and are coordinated and arranged after being specifically contracted by the Commissioners.
Single Audit Findings and Questioned Costs – The Controller ensures and coordinates the timely responses of the County’s grant agencies. They are required to respond with their intentions compliance to the audit findings. These responses must accompany and are included with the distribution of the Single Audit to the designated State and Federal Single Audit reporting centers.
The Management Letter draft copy is submitted by the Controller to the Audit Committee for review and discussion. Afterwards the Controller distributes the draft copy, along with any Audit Committee comments to the specific Department Directors requesting their responses of their intent to comply with the internal control recommendations noted.
Magisterial District Justice (MDJ) Audits, Night Court Audit and Central Court Audit – Draft copies of the audit documents are distributed to each of the MDJ’s for their review, revision proposals and approval. Once agreed upon, the final audit report is ordered from the auditors and distribution of the final audits is made.
AUDIT DISTRIBUTION & MAILINGS
All drafts and final copies of the County Annual Independent Audit, the Single Audit, and accompanying management letters, both draft and final approved copies, are routinely distributed accordingly to the various recipients specified on the annual distribution list. The list is kept current in order to fulfill the financial reporting requirements set forth by State and Federal Governments, Bond credit rating institutions, and to specified financial institutions, which, on behalf of County Bond holders, insure the adherence to the covenants contained in Bond documents for continuing financial disclosure.
MEMBER OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE
The Controller serves as Vice-Chairman and provides discussion material, audit contract status, correspondence, and reports on the status of compliance to audit findings and recommendations and advises on departmental participation and cooperation in audit projects requiring coordination.
CUSTODIAN OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS BONDS
The Controller is the custodian for all Public Official Bonds. Commissioners, Row Officers and Tax Collector bonds are held by the Controller and updated with any changes that may occur during the elected officials’ term of Office.
INTER-FUND CHARGES AND ADJUSTMENTS
Such fiscal transactions are for County governmental individual funds and are transacted by the Controller.
IMPREST FUNDS & PETTY CASH ACCOUNTS
Approved by the Commissioners, this money is held by individuals and self-insurance administrators and requires perpetual monitoring.
LONG TERM DEBT
Interest and principal payments are paid throughout the year and the outstanding balance of the County’s debt is maintained.
EMPLOYEE LEAVE ACCRUALS
The Controller is required to oversee the compliance for applying the required methodology and for collecting, summarizing and analyzing sick leave eligibility for all employees leaving employment each year as the basis for recalculating the annual expense of accumulated sick and vacation leave to each of the County’s Funds in accordance with the extensive requirements for recording and reporting contained in accounting industry Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) pronouncements and standards.
COUNTY & LIBRARY REAL ESTATE TAXES
In conjunction with the Dauphin County Treasurer's Office, the Controller is responsible for the reconciliation of the Real Estate and Library Tax collections on a monthly basis.
REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX
After verifying the Recorder of Deeds’ collections, the monthly Real Estate Transfer Tax transmittal is processed for payment to the various municipalities and school districts.
Once collections are verified, checks are issued for the monthly distributions of Delinquent Tax collections to the respective municipalities and school districts.
NEW ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES
The Controller is responsible for the development of new accounting procedures and authorizes training to all affected County personnel to insure effective compliance, including the development of spreadsheet and database applications and for the training of other accounting staff in their use.
MAINTAINS AWARENESS OF THE PERPETUAL SOFTWARE CHANGES
The Controller is responsible for the central accounting system and is responsible to insure reciprocal fiscal staff of other County departments is educated in the changes and processes of the system.
Conduct graduated levels of training for other accounting professional staff and new accounting clerical staff of the Controller’s Office in the application of both new and existing accounting and office procedures, provide training and direction in the application of new procedures, and communicating understanding of new and existing accounting procedures to the personnel of other County agencies.
Approves the execution of wire payment entries for direct wires as authorized by both the Commissioners and the Controller for Debt Service payments or other County debt related transactions.
SECRETARY OF THE RETIREMENT BOARD
The Controller is designated by Act 96, The County Pension Law, to be the Secretary of the Retirement Board. State Statute requires the Secretary to keep a record of all the proceedings of the Board. The Controller is one of five voting members (three County Commissioners and County Treasurer) and as Secretary, performs the administrative functions of the Board. The Controller provides the staff to record and transcribe minutes. The Controller also sets and prepares the meeting agendas, communicates and coordinates meetings, etc. with the consultant, the investment managers, the actuary as well as the trustee bank. The Controller coordinates the submission and approval of contracts. The position also reviews and approves all investment managers, consultant, actuary, trustee invoices and forwards them through the proper channels for payment, whether it is through the County’s accounts payable system or through the individual managers’ accounts through the trustee bank. The Controller keeps the official Retirement Board files for the minutes, original contracts as well as the miscellaneous information. The Controller is called upon to provide various forms of assistance, ranging from being the point person to unusual items such as obtaining a tax-exempt status from the Netherlands to rebalancing of the portfolio. The Controller also interacts with the commission recapture and transition managers as well as the securities and litigation monitoring firms.
RETIREMENT FUND CASH MONITORING
Weekly monitoring of the cash activity in the Retirement Cash Operating account to ensure adequate cash to cover disbursements. This necessitates interaction with the County’s Retirement Consultant on a regular basis to ensure that the account is properly funded. If over funded, steps are taken to move the money to be allocated to one of the investment managers at the direction of the Retirement Consultant subject to the ultimate approval of the Retirement Board. Under funding would also require that money be moved from one of the existing investment managers (depending on the asset allocation) with the same approval procedures as an over funding situation. This function also requires coordination with the Trustee Bank for the Retirement Fund.
ANNUAL RETIREMENT RECONCILIATION
Currently consists of one cash operating account and the investment manager accounts. This reconciliation is provided to the Retirement Actuary for the preparation of the annual actuarial report. The Actuarial Report is the document that shows the computed annual required ARC contribution that the County is required to contribute into the Retirement Fund.
RETIREMENT FUND ACCOUNTING
The Controller is responsible to perform all accounting functions for the Dauphin County Employee Retirement Trust Fund including the classifying, summarizing and recording of pension fund transactions in the County General Ledger; analyzing and reconciling Trustee Reports of Retirement Fund assets; computation of County and Retired Members’ Reserve Earnings and preparation of the financial data forming the basis for the County’s Retirement Fund Actuarial Report.
The monthly payments to retirees are recorded by the Controller through the central accounting system.
The Controller in conjunction with the Dauphin County Budget and Finance Office reconciles Dauphin County's Concentration Account. This function requires obtaining several monthly bank statements. These statements, along with information received from the Budget and Finance Office and computer reports from the County's Financial Accounting System, are used to reconcile the bank statements to the computer records. This process requires the posting of journal entries and the identification and correction of any problems that may be found.
Other Monthly Bank Reconciliation’s are performed for:
a) Accounts Payable / Payroll Investment Account
b) Accounts Payable Disbursements Account
c) Payroll Disbursements Account
d) AAA Consumer Contributions
e) Election Office Poll Workers Payroll Account
f) Affordable Housing Program Account
g) Payroll Advance Account
ROW OFFICER’S BANK RECONCILIATIONS
The Controller is responsible for reviewing the County Row Offices’ bank reconciliations and retains them accordingly. Verify their receipt classifications and monthly deposits of County revenue to the Treasurer’s Office.
In addition to those bank accounts, other reconciliation’s are:
a) Recorder of Deeds Restricted Records Improvement Fund
b) Prothonotary Automation Fees
c) Other County Records Improvement Fund Accounts
d) Clerk of Courts Automation Fee Funded Projects
e) Divorce Masters
f) Parental Rights Termination Fees
g) Orphans Court Adoption Counseling
h) Register of Wills Records Improvement Fund
TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT PRE-AUDIT
Insure compliance with the County’s Travel Regulations established by the Board of Commissioners and perpetually answers questions and provides interpretation of the Regulations in varying travel related situations. In fact, the Controller’s Office authored the Travel Policy in 1980. Previously, none existed. The Controller perpetually updates and proposes revisions for the Board of Commissioners consideration.
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT JUDGES (MDJ) MONTHLY REPORTS
Receive the monthly reports from all MDJ Offices and verify that the totals on the reports correspond to the total amount of the accompanying check for Costs and Fines, postage, MDJ Escrow, bad check fees, etc. Deposit the checks with the County Treasurer. Any amounts included in the MDJ checks for escheat purposes are to be taken from posted MDJ revenue and posted to an Escrow account. This is done by journal entry showing the reclassification of that part of the revenue posting to that of a receipt in the escrow account for escheats.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S EVIDENCE CASH ACCOUNT
Perpetually monitors and maintains the District Attorney’s Evidence Cash Escrow Ledger. This account consists of confiscated “Cash” for which an accounting by individual is necessary. The money is eventually returned to the individual or it is forfeited to the County. If forfeited to the County, the monies are transferred to the Drug Forfeiture Fund. Periodically, the District Attorney’s Office is provided with a report from the Central Accounting System so he may review the transactions that affected the Evidence Cash Account.
DRUG FORFEITURE FUND
Monitor the cash balance in this fund prior to allowing disbursements. Disbursements from this fund are primarily for Police / Drug Task Force related payments as authorized by the District Attorney’s Office. Prepare and submit the “Annual County Asset Forfeiture Report” to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Upon receiving a Court Order to refund the defendant his fines, verify that the balance due is not encumbered by any outstanding claims by the County before preparing the payment voucher to reimburse the defendant.
Deposit to the County Treasury the bail money that has been legally forfeited and received from the Clerk of Courts Office.
Review fee notices to ensure they are properly submitted for payment for “Discharged/Dismissed”, “Indigent”, and “Jail in Lieu of Payment” cases (i.e. correct attachments & correct amounts for reimbursement) from all Magisterial District Judge (MDJ) Offices. Must work closely with the MDJ Court Administrator.
MAGASTERIAL DISTRICT JUDGES (MDJ) IRS TAX FORMS
Each year obtain the 1096 and 1099 Misc., and when received, forward them to each MDJ Office along with detailed instructions for completion.
IMAGING, SCANNING AND PAPERLESS TRANSACTIONS
In 2010, the Controller with the cooperation and support of the County Board of Commissioners and the help of the Information Technology department began scanning invoices alleviating the need to file and handle the physical original documents. Anyone with access to the accounting system will be able to not just see the accounting transactions but can see images of the supporting documentation for that transaction without referencing a physical file. The Controller is responsible to ensure that fiscal transactions are completely documented in accordance with the PA County Code.
STORAGE OF DOCUMENTS OF FISCAL AFFAIRS AND STATE ARCHIVES REQUIREMENTS
In 2009, contracts began to be imaged and starting 2010 accounts payable invoices and supporting documentation are imaged. However, there are other physical files that are not imaged. For those physical documents, the following applies to the storage of files. Complete paperwork for each piece and mark each box with bar codes. Arrange pickup of documents. Maintain accurate records and coordinate records to destroy in the period allowed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Division of Archives and Manuscripts.
Purge office files annually in accordance with the PA. State Archives County Records Manual published and under the auspices of the PA. Historical and Museum Commission.
STATE SALES TAX
Prepare the Quarterly State Sales Tax Report and remit the applicable payment to the State for PA State Sales Tax on behalf of the County agencies that collect it.
REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE REPORT DISTRIBUTION
The Controller’s Office distributes computer-generated reports on a daily or monthly basis to many County Departments. The report information is generated from the County's Financial Accounting system and distributed electronically through the County's e-mail system.
Accounts Payable is bound by time frames and requires detailed bookkeeping and clerical work, involving appreciable data entry and automated record keeping. The paying of bills is not a casual responsibility. It is mandatory. Paying of invoices cannot wait until another day and the Controller’s strict enforcement of the timely delivery of invoices from all County Departments and the issuance of checks while maintaining the required accountability and ensuring adherence to internal controls is mandatory. The Controller has organized the daily and perpetual activities of the Accounts Payable Division of the Controller’s Office. The Controller is responsible for overseeing the processing of invoices and all other payment requests, expediting those disbursements, ensuring that associated records are maintained and related reports are issued and delivered for the Board of Commissioners or other management for their information and review.
The Controller is responsible for the following activities that ensure compliance to the PA Third Class County Code and internal control expectations of the accounting industry:
- Prepares vouchers (hard-copy) for data entry from vendor invoices and disbursement requests.
- Enters invoice data into central accounting system to generate payments by check to vendors. Verify the daily voucher payment input schedules for accuracy by reviewing the data entry for each accounts payable transaction from edit lists to ensure payment correctness.
- Mails and distributes the accounts payable checks to vendors and payees.
- Answers inquiries regarding the status of / or questions relating to payments.
- Verifies the District Attorney’s Office computation of approved grand jury fees, mileage, and witness fees for payment.
- Assembles (hard-copy) records of accounts payable, including, but not limited to, check registers and voucher schedules; edits disbursement reports and makes distribution of copies to interested department heads; manually-files hard-copy.
- Cancels accounts payable checks, as requested, consequent to bank reconciliation adjustments, stale date, cancellation of purchase, erroneous payee or amount, or the instruction of proper authority.
- Maintains (hard-copy) logs and schedules (including, but not limited to, blank check logs of pre-numbered checks; and tickler-file for recurring payment dates) for internal control within the accounts-payable system.
- Provides customer service to vendors and County staff.
- Orients and instructs accounts payable staff and other County fiscal personnel.
- Prepares and dispatches annual IRS 1099 MISC tax forms to vendors of the County, in accordance with established procedure and schedule.
- Maintain awareness of the perpetual software changes to the accounting system and is responsible to insure that the accounts payable staff and reciprocal fiscal staff of other County departments are educated in the changes and processes of the system.
- Collaborates with Purchasing Department in recording and paying purchase orders and entering encumbrances; perpetually-reviews records of open purchase orders, querying subject departments, as necessary. Verification sometimes will extend to looking at the invoices and the related purchase documents themselves for compliance with purchasing policies, procedures and regulations. Dates, account codes, invoice numbers, proper signatures of approval, dollar amounts, and vendor payee are specific items checked for accuracy.
- Establishes and maintains all County vendor files; perpetually purges inactive vendors (i.e., from whom no purchases made for two years; enters names, addresses and other prescribed information concerning new vendors)
- Compiles and prints weekly Payment Schedule for Commissioners’ review and action (i.e., approval/disapproval of expenditures).
- Issue (i.e., hand-printed/supplemental) demand checks consequent to Commissioners’ approval of Directors’ special requests.
- Audit Confirmations – Respond to requests of all vendor / accounts payable related audit confirmations.
- Accounts Payable – Special Preparation & processes for the following payments:
- Employee Subsidized Parking – County subsidized employee parking is charged to each Department. Since the charges are within the County, the transaction is done by executing a journal entry showing the parking charge to the user Departments and reflecting the incoming parking revenue in the Human Services Building Fund.
- Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals Refunds – Individual Appeal requests, each approved by the Board of Commissioners are received and reviewed for mathematical accuracy, assigned the appropriate account code for payment (i.e. year of tax, type of tax, County or Library, flat, discount or penalty). Once pre-audited, the payment voucher is prepared for data entry into the accounts payable system.
- PA Unemployment Compensation Fund – Process the quarterly payment to the PA Unemployment Compensation Fund from the information sent by the Personnel Office.
- Phone Bill – All major phone charges are charged to one appropriation account established under the IT Department. The costs are spread to the user departments through the utilization of an Excel spreadsheet. The Deputy for Administration is responsible for the spreadsheet calculation and the journal entry transaction to accomplish this allocated charge.
- Workers’ Compensation (WC) – Replenish the Self Insurance Workers’ Compensation Escrow Account monthly for the WC losses paid on the County’s behalf by the Third Party Administrator.
- Develop and maintain Excel spreadsheets for allocation of various County charges, reconciliation of bank accounts, funding requirements for Payroll and A/P checks, Grant reporting, and other accounting processes on a daily and monthly basis.
The Controller’s segment of the Payroll function includes verifying and posting the biweekly payroll to the central accounting system.
This responsibility is comprised of:
- Generating reports that create the interface with the central accounting system and posting the respective Journal Entry to record the transaction.
- Confirming that the amounts interfaced from the payroll system balance before updating the posting to the accounting system.
- Preparing and completing the EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) document, then telephone / fax the transmission of the State and Federal tax, and the employee pension deductions and post the Journal Entries to record the transactions.
- Preparing accounts payable vouchers for the issuance of an accounts payable check for wage attachments and bond deductions from escrow accounts.
- Verify via phone that the transmissions to the bank from the IT Department for the ACH payroll direct deposits are correct.
- Verify by e-mail that transmissions to the bank from the IT Department for the payroll and accounts payable checks are correct.
- Maintain the file of Federal and State ACH debit payments.
- Maintain a file of employee contributions for pension (both payroll and non-payroll related contributions.)
- Maintain the numbering sequence control log of the paychecks.
- Maintain the numbering sequence control log of the payroll system generated Direct Deposit Vouchers.
- Issue all supplemental payrolls for individuals missed in the normal bi-weekly payroll.
- Issue manual checks for individuals whom either lost checks or received incorrect checks.
- Void payroll checks or direct deposits issued in error.
- Handle exceptions in an expeditious manner to allow timely payroll processing.
- Prepare the entry form and data enter the Journal Entries for EFT of the Deferred Compensation contributions and for the “flexible spending account funds” withheld from employee’s paychecks. Verify the Deferred Compensation amounts with the Personnel Department’s Benefit Coordinator and the Flexible Spending Amount by comparing to the amounts shown on the bi-weekly payroll pre-edit report. Transfer the amounts by wire to the recipient custodians.
- Record Payroll report records on CD-R discs by using a CD burner.
In conjunction with the Dauphin County Budget and Finance Office, the Controller provides information for the weekly cash needs for issued accounts payable checks and biweekly payroll checks. This information must be provided to the Budget and Finance Office to enable the proper transfer of cash for the Accounts Payable Bank Account and Payroll Bank Account from the County’s Central Concentration Account.
BAD CHECKS RECEIVED FOR DEPOSIT
Reverse receipt transactions for bad checks that were deposited in Dauphin County's Concentration Account. Checks that were received and deposited by the County Treasurer's Office but returned by the bank are adjusted by journal entry posted in the County's Financial Accounting System after receiving the information from the Treasurer's Office – which County Department the bad check is to be returned and what account code is to be credited with the reversed transaction journal entry.
CANCELLED ACCOUNTS PAYABLE CHECKS & PAYROLL CHECKS
Attempts are made to notify the payee of the stale date check situation. Review and verification of stale dated checks is ascertained before cancellation is effected. This is accomplished by obtaining data from the Accounts Payable and Payroll Offices and verifying that the checks are then cancelled correctly within the County's Financial Accounting System. This information is supplied to the Budget and Finance Office on the weekly funding sheet.
POSITIVE PAY BANK PROGRAM MONITORING
Payroll, Accounts Payable, and Juror checks that are stale dated or for one reason or another are unable to be negotiated, accepted, or cleared against the County’s bank account by the bank are returned and credited to the payee’s bank account and not the County’s as advised or determined to pay or not by the Controller. Positive Pay is web-based and is completed through the M&T Bank website. The web site must receive a response from the County by 2:00 PM each business day. Failure to respond could result in a check paid in error or returned and credited in error. The default for non-response to Positive Pay is to return the check and credit the payee’s bank account. A copy of the response is sent to the Payroll Department and one is kept on file in the Controller’s Office.
Maintain the file for escheat purposes for unfound payees of non-cashed payroll and accounts payable checks, retirement checks and then to include them on the Controller’s annual report to the State Escheats Office along with the corresponding remittance of the unclaimed monies.
MEMBER OF BOARDS & COMMITTEES
Dauphin County Prison Board
Dauphin County Salary Board
Dauphin County Retirement Board
Local Emergency Planning Committee