Madison County commissioners recently discussed the annual auditing process and whether a more intensive investigative audit should be performed, considering the recent thefts and GBI investigations in the chairman’s office.
“In the yearly audit, they (auditors) take what you give them – they don’t do investigative work,” District 1 commissioner Stanley Thomas said at the board’s recent Saturday morning called meeting.
He added that GBI officials told him that a forensic audit could cost as much as $40,000 - $50,000, and that no state funding would be available for such an audit without probable cause.
“I’ve had lots of people tell me that something’s ‘wrong’ with the SPLOST account,” District 2 commissioner John Pethel said, adding that he had gotten copies of bank statements and cancelled checks from Merchants and Farmers Bank but had been unable to determine what was going on since records show funds being transferred back and forth a lot.
“I’d like to see a forensic audit,” Pethel said.
Thomas said that since so much of the county funding comes from SPLOST, they might question whether a forensic audit would be feasible on just the SPLOST accounts.
County purchasing agent Cheryl Jensrud told the board that one problem with the SPLOST account was that it was stored on a QuickBooks account previously accessible by only former county clerk Morris Fortson and former deputy clerk Melinda Spence.
“The first thing Kathy (Clark) and I’ll do in 2009 is put the SPLOST account on the county system,” Jensrud said.
In a forensic audit, you don't have to guess. You will know.
This is a lot of money, but it is money WELL spent. Please vote for the audit, Commissioners. It's the only way to get to the bottom, and the only way to have a fresh start. Otherwise the clouds, suspicions, and accusations will linger forever. It is a diligent and responsible thing to do on behalf of the taxpayers.