QUEENSBURY - Reminiscent of a David-versus-Goliath matchup, David won at least a reprieve Monday at the Warren County Finance Committee meeting.
For the last six years, municipal finance juggernaut The Bonadio Group has handled the county's external financial audit process. But in a surprise outcome Monday, local upstart Richard DiNolfo of Queensbury succeeded in swaying the committee's opinion just enough to call into question Bonadio's hold on the lucrative county contract.
Bonadio Group is currently contracted with five New York State counties as the primary external auditor, Bonadio Group Partner Ken Pink said Monday. The firm has offices in Albany and five other upstate cities.
"We are a large firm with large capabilities," Pink said. "We are considered leaders in the industry, with years of experience and a large, very qualified staff-we never subcontract."
The county's "request for proposal" stated that in order to qualify for the contract, a bidding party was required to have at least 10 years of single audit experience and recent peer reviews. These facts were the primary reasons that Bonadio was awarded the contract last month even though the firm's three-year, $129,000 bid was $6,000 more than DiNolfo's.
"It is very important to clarify as to why a low bid was rejected when it happens," Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe said.
DiNolfo said that he has two decades of peer-reviewed audit experience as a CPA in the New York State Comptroller's Office, but as an individual business owner he has not yet been peer-reviewed.
"From what I am hearing you have six or seven years of the required experience," Warren County Attorney Paul Dusek said to DiNolfo.
County Treasury Officials also stated concern over what they claim is DiNolfo's practice of subcontracting fellow CPAs in order to accomplish the necessary tasks.
"I do not subcontract - everyone who works for me is under contract and under my direct supervision," DiNolfo said. "I would take full responsibility for the actions of anyone working on behalf of my firm."
Although the issue has already passed the full board, DiNolfo's argument was enough to re-open the issue.
"I prefer to deal with smaller, local companies," said Lake George Supervisor Lou Tessier. "When I call a firm up, I want access, not 25 minutes on hold."
The county finance committee voted 7-1 to rescind the previous motion granting the contract to Bonadio and moved to re-address the issue.
"I am just not comfortable with where we are right now," said Queensbury Supervisor-at-Large Bill VanNess. "We need to stop this thing and get all of our apples in one barrel."
But not all of the supervisors in attendance were swayed in such a way, however.
"It seems like we only have one qualified party and we have already approved them," said Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed.