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Councilwoman questions audit expense

Mayor: ‘More expensive’ contract will include utilities, IT audits

Florala Councilwoman Sue Mathis on Monday questioned Mayor Terry Holley’s hiring of a different auditor at increased expense to the town.

Mathis said Ben Vance has been preparing the city’s legally-required audit for nine years, and that his contract caps charges at $6,500.

“I understand the mayor does have the authority to hire an auditor,” Mathis said. “This is a done deal, and the contract has been signed. I just have some questions. Why are we spending $22,000 in 2017, and $22,250 in 2018 (for an audit)?

“I feel like there are a lot of other places we can use that money,” Mathis said, asking if the mayor had a reason for not rehiring Vance.

Holley never answered the question specifically, but said he hired Carr, Riggs and Ingram out of Enterprise because they are highly recommended. Their fee will include audits of the city’s general fund, the utilities board, and airport authority, Holley said.

He said the 2016 met with generally approved auditing standards, but did not conform to governmental auditing standards. The new firm also will audit information technology controls, he said. He also said that year to date, the city has paid the current firm more than $9,000, instead of the alleged $6,500 cap.

Holley said the city has some things that “need to be done to increase efficiency.”

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said.

Mathis’s sister, Joy Taylor, works in city hall, and was among the local residents who packed the council chamber when word spread about the pending discussion. Holley did not take public comments after the meeting, but Taylor stood and announced she was tendering her resignation, and had letters for each council member.