KHS audit approved

LIHUE — Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo’s plan to require an audit of the Kauai Humane Society was unanimously approved on Wednesday.

Rapozo proposed the performance audit following an internal dispute that spilled into public in May and led to complaints about the organization and the firing of two employees.

“What I am feeling is the public’s loss of faith (in the Kauai Humane Society),” Rapozo said. “I’m hoping the audit comes out fine, but that is not for me to say.”

KHS Executive Director Penny Cistaro reiterated Wednesday that she welcomes the independent audit.

Much of the council discussion focused on how much the independent audit will cost. Rapozo said he does not have an exact figure yet since the audit will have to be contracted through an outside firm, but he expects it will cost about $75,000, and likely less.

Rapozo said the scope of the audit would be limited to services funded by the county.

“We’re not going to get involved with how many cats get killed or euthanized,” Rapozo said, adding that that is a policy decision within the shelter’s discretion. But the audit would look at internal controls and issues.

The Kauai Humane Society receives $760,000 per year from the county, with the rest of its funding coming from donations and fees. KHS had $2.6 million in total revenue and support for the fiscal year ending June 2014, according to the KHS website.

“The fact of the matter is there is a concern, and the concern needs to be addressed, and the only way we can address it is through an audit,” Rapozo said.

Councilman and Finance Committee Chair Arryl Kaneshiro spoke in favor of the performance audit.

“I look at it as an opportunity to make things better,” he said. “It will also give us confidence that our money is being spent properly.”

The county has $150,000 available in the budget to conduct audits during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

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