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Cortez touts progress with audit after embezzlement, backlogged records

City completes 2018 audit this month, the second in less than a year

When Kelly Koskie joined the city of Cortez as the new finance director in 2021, she aimed to expedite previous audits amid backed-up records and a 2018 embezzlement case that rocked the public’s trust in the city’s finance department.

She set a goal of completing three audits in a year-and-a-half, and the city of Cortez has since completed its 2017 and 2018 audits.

The city most recently finished the 2018 audit March 8, according to a news release.

The turnaround was relatively swift compared with the the four years it took to complete the 2016 audit.

Koskie was hired in February 2021 to replace Katheryn Moss, who pleaded guilty to embezzling $63,642 from the city between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2018.

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A Colorado Bureau of Investigation probe halted progress to remedy backlogged audits caused by a flawed software conversion that nullified three years of financial documentation, beginning in 2016.

To assist the audit, the city hired auditing firm Atlas CPAs and Advisors in May 2021.

“I am proud of all the hard work my group has done alongside Atlas,” Koskie said in a news release. “They stepped up to the plate and are making this right for our community and staff.”

Cortez Finance Director Kelly Koskie, pictured in an archived photo, aims to finish three years of financial audits in a year-and-a-half.

“Everyone on the city staff is pleased we are moving forward to a new era of financial accountability with the city,” said City Manager Drew Sanders in a prepared statement. “It is time to move on from the unfortunate mistrust that was placed on the staff and community after one employee’s wrongdoing. Kelly Koskie and the whole finance team deserve to be applauded for their work in expediting and getting this done right.”

Koskie, a Lewis native, graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting before working as a finance director for housing authorities in Washington for 15 years.