Jefferson Banner - News
June 6, 2000 - Commerce and Industry Association Funding Withheld

In a unanimous vote at its June 5 meeting, the Jefferson Water and Electric Commission denied the funding request of the Commerce and Industry Association (CIA), the arm of City of Jefferson economic development that provides the Executive Director to the Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson Development Corporation (JDC).

Funding was withheld until the Water and Electric Commission has approved of a review of a financial audit of the CIA, the JDC, and the Chamber of Commerce.  In other conditions, the Commission requested a study of alternatives to restructure the JDC and CIA Boards to include a representative from the Water and Electric Commission.

On February 15, the Jefferson Common Council voted to release their one-third contribution to the CIA on the condition that an audit would be conducted on the CIA's financial records.  At that meeting, Alderman Dale Opperman questioned the consistency of the Executive Director's statements regarding the Chamber's reimbursement for the banners for the City's light poles.

At the March 21 meeting of the CIA Board, Olsen was instructed to accept bids from local accounting firms to conduct the audit.  At the May 23 meeting, the CIA Board selected Del Chmielewski CPA and Consulting as the low bid, rejecting the bid from Virchow Krause & Co. of Fort Atkinson.

During last night's meeting, the Water and Electric Commission rejected the CIA Board's choice of accounting firm for the audit, claiming that there was a conflict of interest if a Chamber member was asked to audit the CIA or Chamber.  They asked the CIA to switch to an accounting firm outside of Jefferson.

The Commission also asked for a "complete written job description" of the Executive Director position.

The CIA normally spends approximately $3,600 a month on its primary expense of the salary and benefits of the Executive Director.  According to Olsen, as of today the CIA has $2,594 on hand, less than one month's expenses.

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