Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Breaking: Commission Agrees to Hire Outside Auditing Firm
From CityStink.net Reports
Augusta commissioners voted 6-1 earlier this evening to hire an outside auditing firm to conduct the annual audit of city finances required under state law. For the past 13 years the contract has gone to the local accounting firm of Cherry, Bekaert and Holland. But now a Macon, GA based firm, Mauldin & Jenkins, will take a look at the city's books. Some commissioners argued that a non-local firm would be more independent and resistant to pressure from individual commissioners and local interests, and that it was good to rotate the contract among different firms instead of always giving it to the same local firm year after year.
The vote was not easy though. It took 3 tries to get it passed. The first motion failed in a 4-4 tie. Then a second motion also failed in a 4-4 tie. Commissioner Joe Bowles says it was a "slap in the face" to local accounting firms to to award the contract to an out of town firm. Commissioners were reminded that failure to choose an auditing firm could result in the city losing all state funding.
Then Commissioner Corey Johnson brought forth a 3rd motion near the end of the meeting at 7pm. By this time Commissioners Alvin Mason and Matt Aitken had left the meeting. Commissioner J.R Hatney was absent from today's meeting. The third time was a charm and commissioners passed Johnson's substitute motion to award the auditing contract to Maulden Jenkins. This time the vote passed 6-1 with Grady Smith as the sole dissenting commissioner.
It was a confusing display of political theater to say the least and we will have video up of the proceedings as soon as it becomes available. Stay tuned***
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