Metro achieves dual financial improvement milestonesMetro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today announced that Metro has achieved two important milestones in its financial turnaround. This week, the accounting firm of RSM US, LLP will issue a "clean" audit of WMATA’s FY2017 Financial Statements, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has restored WMATA’s automatic access for federal grant reimbursement.
The federal change follows FTA's recognition that WMATA addressed all Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) related to the 2014 Financial Management Oversight (FMO) Report. The change fully restores Metro's ability to automatically receive electronic reimbursement for federal grant funds through the Electronic Clearing House Operation (ECHO) system. The dual milestones are further indications of Metro’s improved financial performance and management.
"Getting Metro's financial house in order is a significant accomplishment and involved a lot of hard work and effort over the past three years led by our Chief Financial Officer Dennis Anosike," said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "The finance team has implemented new processes to ensure Metro maintains strong financial controls necessary moving forward, and I want to recognize Managing Director of Management and Budget Tom Webster and Comptroller La Toya Thomas for their efforts to right the ship. "
The FY2017 Audit will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors Audit Committee tomorrow. The independent auditor issued an unmodified opinion or "clean" audit. According to RSM, the financial statements “present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the business-type activities of the Authority, as of June 30, 2017 and 2016, and the changes in financial position and, cash flows thereof for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”
Metro has implemented numerous process improvements to address deficiencies identified by the FMO audit, including independent objective reviews and assessments of internal controls and business processes through the Office of Management Audits, Risk and Compliance (MARC). The reviews also evaluate the financial management controls and compliance with federal grant regulations.
"We value the recommendations of the audit and continue to work to further improve our accounting and financial systems," said Anosike. "This includes key controls on overtime, which have already been implemented."
In response to the 2014 FMO report, Metro submitted 65 CAPs to address the report's recommendations. The closure of the CAPs was the final step to fully restore Metro's ability to drawdown funds for federal grants.
In December, the FTA lifted restrictions on Metro's drawdown privileges for all federal grants after June 2015.
With the restrictions lifted, Metro has the ability to access funding from federal grants up front, rather than waiting months for reimbursement under the restrictive, manual process.