City council approves special audit into MCSO finances, seeks savings

Columbus City Councilors vote to audit sheriff's office

Columbus, GA (WTVM) -  Among several items on Tuesday's meeting agenda, councilors voted to take a closer look into the Sheriff Office's finances.  

Aside from one comment offered to council during the meeting by Councilor Berry "Skip" Henderson, the decision was unanimous; a 9-0 vote to move forward with this special audit into the Sheriff's Office.

Councilor Glenn Davis put this option on the table for city council in order to "assure that the financial interests of the CCG are protected."

The possible concern for city officials is further harming their relationship with the sheriff's office. 

News Leader 9 has reported the long-standing legal dispute between Consoldiated Government and Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr. 

In June, a superior court judge ruled to dismiss most of Darr's lawsuit against the city. 

In 2014, Darr claimed the city did not give his office sufficient funds to carry out their respective duties.  

Henderson addressed the other council members and the audience, saying he wants the audit to serve one purpose: help the Sheriff's Office in any way possible. 

He asked Mayor Teresa Tomlinson to approve a language amendment that would reflect, according to Henderson, a collaborative spirit between the two organizations.

"I think a more accurate statement would be to assist the Sheriff's Department in identifying possible financial savings," Henderson said. "To me, it matters. It may not to anybody else, but I think we offered  this and it was accepted in the spirit of cooperation. This just sounds a little more punitive than I would like."

As for how council will implement the audit, they've assigned John Redmond, a special auditor, who will work closely with the Sheriff's Office to find ways to cut back the budget.

After the meeting, Redmond told News Leader 9 he plans to start the audit in the next three to four weeks. 

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