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Finance dept. awarded for excellence

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Finance Department has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fifth consecutive year.

Newton was one of 32 counties in the state to be recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2009. The association uses a 78-page checklist to gauge compliance with generally accepted accounting principles and program policy.

Administrative Officer John Middleton said it's not the financial state of the county that's considered, but rather the quality of reporting on that state.

"In good times or bad times, you have a responsibility to report information appropriately and truthfully and help explain what those results are," he said.

Middleton, who also worked on the report, gave credit to the entire Finance Department and specifically to Administrative Services Coordinator Marcia Allen, Fiscal Officer Phyllis Studdard and former Chief Accountant Lorri Smith, who is no longer with the county.

"All year long, these are the folks that do the work, from issuing purchase orders to payments to recording expenses. Through good times and bad times they continue to do an excellent job. This award for excellence in financial reporting is an important thing for them, and I think it speaks for itself and speaks highly of them," Middleton said.

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is designed to encourage state and local governments to prepare and issue a high-quality comprehensive annual financial report. A certificate of excellence is recognized as positive by credit rating agencies and others interested in the professionalism of a government's finance function, according to the Government Finance Officers Association.