Tuesday, December 9, 2014
THE FORENSIC AUDIT VOTE
Yes, I did for the lack of a better term state that those who voted against the Forensic Audit could be considered “co-conspirators”.
For what reason would any Councilor object to a Forensic Audit unless:
(1) The Councilor does not understand their Fiduciary responsibility as a member of the Common Counsel. That includes an in depth check after the City’s Auditors have found failures to comply with acceptable financial procedures.
(2) The Councilor does not understand the scope and limitations of the annual audit. The fact that the auditors have a disclaimer that the audit is dependent on the facts and figures made available to them by the City can preclude exposure of misdemeanors by individuals.
(3) The Councilor him/herself has participated in some fiscal irregularity either directly or indirectly through voting at Council meetings.
(4) The Councilor has a vested interest in protecting some individual of political power or a friend from possible exposure of inappropriate fiscal action.
The first two reasons would suggest that the Councilor is not worthy of serving on the City’s legislative decision making body. Ignorance is not an excuse.
The last two reasons which include political motivations makes the Councilor an accomplice or ‘co-conspirator.
At the meeting Councilor Rev. Brown read a prepared statement which suggested that the purpose was to embarrass the administration of past Mayor Robinson-Briggs. She too felt that the annual require audit was enough.
Reid suggested that we “should move forward” and in essence ignore the past since it will cost money. He remarked that the present city administration had capable people to institute correct procedures and to prevent and irregularities or missing funds. That if there was a problem “the State should investigate it”.
Taylor called it “political shenanigans” and she for one would not be part of “dirty politics”. Her ultimate conclusion was "If there's fraud, you begin to deal with it from now on". I am not sure if she is an advocate of “if you got away with it good for you.”
Although Williams pointed out that there had been questionable expenses or financial transaction from the time of the 2012 4th of July back to the 2008 "$125,000 Quad Tech deal" her comments were an exercise in futility.
Both City Administrator Smiley and later Mayor Mapp pointed out that the initial scope of the Forensic Audit was limited –they did not amplify- that only if there was indications of problems would it be extended backwards.
In as much as the best term for fiscal controls in the past administration was “nonexistent” due to the lack of a qualified CFO and failures to follow purchasing policies it would seem to me that an audit of this nature could go back as far as the time of limitations would permit.
The State or Federal District Attorneys will only step in if they are given reasonable suggestion of fraud.
Perhaps if the 2015 Council refuses to fund this audit, an investigating news reporter from either the print media or TV would start a review that would result not only in a Pulitzer Prize but initiate a legal investigation. We can hope.