City of Cleveland earns highest ranking for audit

City of Cleveland Finance Director Leslie Herrera and City Manager Stacy Williams hold the certificates from the Government Finance Officers Association that show the City earned the highest ranking possible on its 2020-2021 audit.

The City of Cleveland has earned the highest possible ranking for its 2020-2021 audit, according to the auditing firm of Brooks, Watson and Company, PLLC.

“As finance director for the City of Cleveland, I am very proud to announce that this is our first year to receive an award from the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association),” said Leslie Herrera at the March 15 Cleveland City Council meeting. “I want to thank my staff for their hard work and we will continue to accomplish many more things for the City of Cleveland.”

Lewis Breedlove, the senior audit manager for Brooks, Watson and Company, PLLC, shared details of the audit with Council, explaining that the audit is assessed in five phases: assessment, risk-based approach, compliance testing, fieldwork, and conclusion and reporting.

Breedlove called the City’s financial recordkeeping “outstanding” and said that the audit not only meets the review of the GFOA, it should ensure the residents of Cleveland that the City is being transparent on financial matters.

The audit shows that growth is favorably impacting the City of Cleveland’s bottom line with property taxes up by 12 percent in 2021 over 2020. The exact figures are $3,188,794 million in 2020 and $3,586,794 million in 2021, a difference of $398,156.

Sales taxes also were up in 2021 over 2020 with an additional $409,814 coming in.

Licenses and permits jumped by 167 percent, also attributed to new growth. The amount received for this in 2020 was $286,355; by 2021, the amount increased to $764,131, a difference of $477,776.

Breedlove said the audit was conducted in compliance with all ethics requirements and there were no difficulties in dealing with management or making adjustments as needed.

“The audit went as smoothly as it could be. The team was very responsive and I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of an audit,” he said.


  1. Leslie does a great job for the city and she should have been given the opportunity to apply for the city managers job.

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