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The Semantics of 'Satisfactory'

Humane Society gets its knuckles rapped, but receives above-average audit rating.

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Auditing has its own management-speak. When grading performance, the choices are "high satisfactory, "satisfactory," "low satisfactory," "needs improvement" and the bottom of the barrel, "unsatisfactory."

If a citizen were to take a passing glance at the June 2 financial review of the Idaho Humane Society, performed by the Boise Office of Internal Audit, and see "Audit Grade: Satisfactory," it would be a fair assumption that things are fine at the shelter, which began caring for creatures great and small in the 1890s and was formally incorporated in 1945.

And while city staff auditor Mariano Caputto wrote that IHS "has succeeded in promoting compliance with animal ordinances," three particular concerns also surfaced:

IHS was not in compliance with its city contract when it didn't report all its mandatory statistics for fiscal years 2011 through 2013.

"The absence of integral performance measures may impair the City's ability to effectively assess the changing animal control services environment--and could potentially hamper decision-making abilities," read the audit.

IHS did not remit animal license revenues to the city in a timely manner. Boise City Code requires no more than seven days lapse before the funds are transferred, but it took an average of 12 days for IHS to remit the money. It's not the first time IHS has had its knuckles rapped for this one. A similar situation arose in 2010.

There is some sloppy bookkeeping happening at IHS and the city clerk's office. Auditors wrote that "not all of the cash deposits sampled for testing and verification could be located in the designated financial account," and "the documentation trail may be impaired." Additionally, the review said it was "unclear as to whether all transactions were posted correctly in the City's accounting system. The disposition of certain license fee deposits could not be determined to be a certainty."

Officials from IHS and the city clerk's office promised to create new standards to better document deposits and reconciliations and to have them in place by June 30.

The Idaho Humane Society, governed by a volunteer board of directors, is accountable to Title 6, Chapter 7 of Boise City Code for its animal control and enforcement. The society recently launched an $11.5 million fundraising campaign to build a new campus on a 10-acre site on West Overland Road.