Westmoreland’s recordkeeper looks toward balance of career | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Westmoreland’s recordkeeper looks toward balance of career

Rich Cholodofsky
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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Ray “RT” Levay, the Westmoreland County chief financial auditor, poses for a portrait the Controllers office inside the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg, on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Levay will retire in July after 40 years.
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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Ray “RT” Levay, the Westmoreland County chief financial auditor, poses for a portrait the Controllers office inside the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg, on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Levay will retire in July after 40 years.

In May 1979, Ray Levay graduated from Saint Vincent College.

Less than a month later, he was working in a tiny cubicle at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, compiling government financial records for an annual report.

Now 40 years later, Levay, known as “RT,” is doing the same work but for the last time as he readies his final report. He plans to retire next month as the county’s director of accounting and financial reporting.

Levay, 66, of Latrobe has worked under five controllers with the primary job of pulling together what is known as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It’s a document that details every dollar and cent collected and spent by the county during the previous 12 months.

“I look at all the treasurer’s records, the receipts and other ledger reports for accuracy. I try to do the best job I can,” Levay said.

When he started, the annual report was an 83-page booklet of numbers: columns of figures that detailed every financial transaction during the last year. He worked alone to calculate the financial records and pulled those figures from as many as 12 different bound ledgers used to track financial transactions.

Those ledgers are no longer used as computers have streamlined the creation of documents, and Levay now has a staff of four to help. Last year’s 229-page report included many of the same type of records as were compiled in 1979, but it included more than just numbers. It featured dozens of pages of text describing government operations, explanations of programs, statistics, census information and other data.

His last report is expected to be published at the end of June.

One major change to his reports occurred in the late 1990s, when accounting standards required values for each building, piece of equipment and all land owned by the county. It made the work more difficult but more interesting, he said.

“I’ve found it challenging and every report is different because they keep changing the standards,” Levay said.

Levay has been honored for his work. His report has received certificates for excellence in financial reporting for the last 28 consecutive years.

“RT is truly one of the unsung heroes of the Westmoreland County accounting and finance world. He is the architect of Westmoreland County’s nationally recognized financial reports. For 40 years, his dedicated and reliable service has helped five controllers be successful in their terms of office. RT is a quiet, humble soul. But in the financial circles of the county, when he speaks, everyone takes notice,” Controller Jeffrey Balzer said.

Levay’s faded identification badge that he wears on his front shirt pocket is proof of his longevity at the courthouse.

And for the last 40 years, coworkers have received the same “good morning” greeting from him no matter what the time of day.

“I know people make fun of me, but when you are my age there are more days behind you than in front of you. That’s why I say good morning now, so I am always keeping the day in front of me,” Levay said

For the next month, Levay will continue to work out of his cubicle, where he keeps copies of all 40 of his financial reports.

“It’s history,” he said. “I sit there and do my job and let the world go past.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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