Delaware County Controller and Staff Kept Going; Through Pandemic, Cyberattack

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Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips with her award-winning staff.
Image via Controller of Delaware County.
Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips (front left) and her staff gathered on the Courthouse steps.

Trying to keep track of Delaware County’s finances during a pandemic was not in the job description for Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips and her staff.

But when COVID-19 and a November cyberattack disrupted personnel, supplies, finances, and routines, Phillips and her team stayed on duty as the financial watchdogs for Delaware County residents in 2020.

Their work earned Phillips and her team a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.

The Controllers office met the standards of excellence for the county’s Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending December 2019.

A detailed application for review was submitted in 2020 amongst the pandemic difficulties.

“2020 was an incredibly hard year and my staff persevered through it. This year’s report was completed during a trying time that required essential workers to continue to serve the public. My office was manned every day,” Phillips said.

The office was rebuilt so everyone could work safely. Independent auditors worked off-site, requiring remote communications and secure technology. After the cyberattack, Phillips’s staff worked through Thanksgiving and never missed payroll or paying vendors.

The Certificate of Achievement encourages local governments to go beyond minimum accounting requirements in preparing annual financial reports.

The annual financial reports are used by creditors, grantors and developers. In 2020, Phillips said her office also helped facilitate new programs and distribution of COVID relief funds.

The Annual Report is available at www.delcopa.gov/controller.

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