Columbus City Council releases findings from audit on Clerk of Council's Office

Updated: Aug. 14, 2018 at 10:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The findings from a forensic audit on the Clerk of Council 's Office for the City of Columbus were revealed at Tuesday morning's council meeting.

The results came eleven days after Tiny Washington, Clerk of Council since 1996, was placed on paid leave.  Evelyn Turner Pugh, Mayor Pro Tem and spokesperson for city council, confirmed Washington's leave from office began Friday, August 3, 2018.

Pugh would not comment on the reason behind the move.

The internal probe started in January of this year following a request by Councilor MiMi Woodson and authorized by the city council on November 28, 2017.  Elizabeth Barfield, CPA and Forensic Auditor, presented their findings to city councilors on office operations including resolutions and ordinances, contracts, minutes, agenda preparation, board administration, budget, payroll, job descriptions, storage of records and customer service.

The audit test conducted for resolutions and ordinances consisted of a random sample of items from 2006 to 2017, according to the report. It stated, Minicode, the software that houses the Columbus code of ordinances, should be updated to reflect all ordinances passed. This information is sensitive and relied upon by various internal departments and the public.

It was last updated April 17, 2018. The update included ordinances passed through October 31, 2017. Since November 1, 2017, and as of May 25, 2018, 21 ordinances have been passed.

The auditors recommended that Minicode should be updated monthly which may require additional costs. When it comes to contracts, the audit found that 60 percent of the city's contracts were not located. It also stated, "the filing system consists of boxes of contracts by year. Once the box is retrieved, there is no recognizable order to its contents."

The Clerk of Council's Office operates on a $230,000 budget per year. Barfield told councilors the timekeeping procedures must be improved but she didn't find any problems with the budget. In fact, Barfield said the budget was quote "adhered to well."

See the full audit report below:

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