Council gridlocks over audit, cameras
by Rachel Davis
Sep 12, 2013 | 2407 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DORA — The Dora City Council once again locked horns over the old issues of security cameras and the 2011 audit. These issues were hotly contested during the Aug. 13 council meeting. The Aug. 27 council meeting and a special called council meeting for Sept. 3 were cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

On the issue of new security systems for city hall, the city-owned Horse Creek Golf Course and the old National Guard Armory that houses the city’s street department equipment, the council split the decisions into three separate votes. Companies that originally bid for the job were shown to not have a state license and were excluded from the final decision. The two sets of bids the council considered were from ADT and Red Star Security.

On the matter of adding to security cameras to the existing system at city hall, one in the mayor’s office and another in the police chief’s office, ADT estimated the cost at $698 and Red Star quoted $876. Council members Robert Busby and Clyde Nix voted in favor of purchasing the system additions, as did Mayor Randy Stephens and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Thomas.

Council member Richard Lovelady voted no, saying he was against purchasing the cameras at all. Council members George Sides Jr. and Betty Sanders voted against the purchase.

Council member Hezikiah Walker voted against all three systems, citing the need for policies regarding the use and access to the systems.

The four-four vote means no action was taken on the purchase.

On adding a system to the city’s golf course, ADT bid $6,698 and Red Star bid $7,000. The council voted to purchase the system out of the golf course fund. Only Walker voted against the purchase because of the lack of policy.

Adding a camera system to the armory brought a bid of $3,118 from ADT and $4,071 from Red Star. Busby, Nix, Thomas, Sanders and Stephens voted for the system.

Walker, Sides and Lovelady voted no. The camera system will be purchased from ADT.

Sides said he voted against the measure because he thought the money could be better spent on new equipment that would help the street department.

The council then discussed the approval of the audit for October 2010 through September 2011.

The council had previously questioned the audit results and asked for more supporting materials. The mayor said the auditor later sent the supporting material and he passed it on to the council members. Council members questioned the timing, saying the letters were dated on July 18, the same day the audit was sent.

Lovelady asked that the auditor come to the next meeting to explain the audit in greater detail. He said the financial statements were too technical and needed to be explained.

“What is it y’all are looking for in the audit?” Nix asked.

“The audit is suppose to — which he touches on it here — is suppose to bring out the findings,” Lovelady responded. “There were some things that wasn’t done here. There is, for instance, it’s been claimed — I don’t know whether there was — there was money missing and investigations about different things. It doesn’t even mention it in the audit.”

Thomas interjected, “Page 2, line 7 says, ‘we have no knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud affecting the entity involving management, employees who have significant roles and others where the fraud could have material effect on the financial statements.’”

Lovelady, Sides, Sanders and Walker voted in favor of having the auditor come to the next meeting. The 4-4 vote meant no action was taken.

A motion to approve the audit faced the same gridlock vote.

Lovelady appeared to be referencing the two city employees, a former city clerk and former magistrate who were charged with taking money from the city coffers. The magistrate’s theft charges stemmed from incidents in 2009 and early 2010. Audits for those years were approved by the previous council. It was unclear if the clerk’s thefts occurred during the year in question or in the 2011-2012 financial year. Both women were charged last year.

This audit, as well as the 2011-2012 audit are backlogged. At the end of the month of September, the 2012-2013 audit should begin.

In other business:

•The council agreed to table the surplussing of items until they receive a clear title on one of the vehicles.

•The council approved the department reports and bill lists.

•The council agreed to have Revenue Discovery Services to audit the city’s business license and tax records for missed money.

•The council voted to purchase an ad for the golf course on the East Walker Chamber of Commerce 5k T-shirt.

•The council voted to create a correction fund account.

•The council approved the creation of new positions for existing city employees at the golf course and raises for those employees.

•The council voted for an increase in pay for Jeremy Hicks, supervisor of the street department.