Whatcom Transportation Authority receives State Auditor's Office Stewardship Award

Jun 29, 2018


In this photo: Board (left to right): • A.J. Walcott, President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 843 • Kelli Linville, Mayor of Bellingham • Eric Davidson, Blaine City Council Member • Jim Ackerman, Mayor of Nooksack • Cathy Watson, Board Chairperson and Ferndale City Council • Satpal Sidhu, Whatcom County Council Member • Michael Lilliquist, Board Vice-Chairperson and Bellingham City Council Member • Jack Louws, Whatcom County Executive Next row: WTA Finance Staff (left to right) • Laurie Pederson, Payroll Specialist • Tami Eastwood, Revenue Manager • Erin Knudson, Manager of Accounting • State Auditor Pat McCarthy • Shonda Shipman, Director of Finance • Lynda Fox, Accounting Technician II • Susan Dickinson, Accounting Technician I • Magan Waltari, Purchasing and Contracts Coordinator

The Office of the Washington State Auditor is pleased to recognize Whatcom Transportation Authority as an outstanding example of commitment to safeguarding public resources. Authority management has consistently demonstrated dedication to proactive risk evaluation and resolution, compliance with applicable requirements, transparency and an attitude that invites our Office's guidance, especially during the audit process.

Authority staff members work hard to ensure responsible use and management of public funds in all of the Authority's operations. The Authority maintains active and ongoing involvement and oversight at every level of management. Throughout our discussions with General Manager Pete Stark, Director of Finance Shonda Shipman and Manager of Accounting Erin Knudson, we saw a consistent understanding and assessment of risks and activities. These leaders continue to welcome any recommendations on improvements to their processes and how to achieve greater transparency. The Authority demonstrates its commitment to transparency annually by presenting clear and accurate financial statements, providing optimal benefit to its users.

Further, the Authority remains aware of statewide audit results to re-evaluate and improve its processes. For example, Director Shipman and her staff began assessing cost-per-passenger and cost-per-mile annually in response to a similar entity's audit recommendations. As a result, Authority staff members along with the Board of Directors have re-examined their processes to ensure consistent communication and understanding throughout the agency.

We commend the Authority for its ongoing communication with our Office to ensure it is using any guidance available for new financial statement standards or projects being considered. It is clear that Authority leadership understands the role of public stewardship and wants to be accountable to citizens by establishing a commitment to continued improvement.

From State Auditor Pat McCarthy, thank you for your hard work and dedication to the citizens of Washington.