© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Sedgwick Co. Selects New Auditors Following Theft Investigation

A screenshot of Wednesday's meeting shows Sedgwick County Manager Mike Scholes speaking to county commissioners.

A new accounting firm will be looking into Sedgwick County’s finances and policies.

County commissioners voted Wednesday to approve a three-year contract with BKD of Wichita. They said they wanted a fresh perspective on finances and a review of policies and procedures.

The firm of Allen, Gibbs and Houlik (AGH) has provided auditing services for Sedgwick County for many years and won its current contract in 2011.

County Manager Mike Scholes said switching firms was a business decision.

"Recent events related to the theft of $566,000 indicate vulnerabilities that have not been identified in previous audits but may still exist," Scholes said. "Status quo is simply not an option."

The firm BKD had higher pricing over the life of the contract, but the county’s Bid Board found that the company had the best overall proposals.

Scholes defended his appearance at a Bid Board meeting last week where he announced his recommendation for selecting BKD for the auditing contract. He said he respects AGH’s longstanding relationship with the county, and that the firm did nothing wrong, but, he said, in light of recent events, he wanted a fresh perspective.

He said his appearance at the meeting was an effort to be transparent.

“I didn’t go to the commissioners, I didn’t go the evaluation team, I didn’t go to [Sedgwick County Chief Financial Officer] Chris Chronis or anybody," Scholes said. "The first anybody heard about what my recommendation was going to be was in front of the Bid Board, which I thought was the appropriate place as a county manager to be able to make it known."

The county’s request for auditing proposals went out in July, about three months before the theft was discovered.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the Bid Board’s recommendation of hiring BKD for the auditing services. Commissioner Tim Norton did not attend the meeting.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.