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Airport board to pick auditing firm

At its regularly scheduled monthly meeting Wednesday, the board that oversees Lexington's Blue Grass Airport is expected to choose a new firm to perform its annual financial audit.

Adopting a policy to rotate auditing firms at least every fifth year was one of many recommendations from state Auditor Crit Luallen in February after her office audited airport officials' expenditures.

The airport board, in a 60-day status report to Luallen's office in late April, said the board's finance and audit committee would present a recommendation regarding a new firm of independent auditors at the May board meeting.

The audit firm being recommended is Crowe Horwath, airport interim executive director Eric Frankl said.

The airport was audited by Potter and Co. for about 20 years.

"The Blue Grass Airport Board has been working to implement the recommendations in our audit, and we are encouraged by the progress detailed in the 60-day report that was recently sent to our office," a recent statement from Luallen's office said. "We are confident that if the airport board continues to implement our recommendations, trust and accountability can be restored to this important public agency."

The 60-day status report, which was signed by airport board chairman J. Robert Owens, addressed each of Luallen's recommendations.

The report said that the airport board had adopted a revised policy on travel, business expenses, entertainment and reimbursement in February and that that policy had been implemented.

The report noted that a new ethics policy had been established and that the board was working on an orientation manual for new and returning board members. The manual was suggested by Luallen's office.

The report also noted that the board had undertaken a review of a number of employees' roles and had approved new salary ranges for top airport managers.

Owens' letter indicated that the board was continuing to seek reimbursement for expenses that the airport should not have paid, as well as the return of items bought with airport funds.

The state auditor's office, which found that seven airport officials had more than $500,000 in questionable and unsupported expenses over a three-year period, had recommended that the board seek reimbursement for personal expenses.

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