“We’ve got to do something and stop talking,” said Mayor La’Shone Price during the Snead council meeting last week. He was referring to the matter of the council’s request in June to have the Alabama Bureau of Investigation perform a forensic audit.
The need for the audit stemmed from the discovery that receipts and checks had not been properly recorded in the town’s accounting system from late 2018 through Oct. 2019. At the time, assistant police chief Ron Kiker told the council that “there is nothing that makes me think money is missing, but someone stopped doing their job.”
Town clerk Heather Lindsay, who was hired in Aug. 2019, was tasked with the job of tracking and recording all receipts and checks from that time period. Lindsay said she now has all of the receipts and checks entered and updated. “It’s now in the software, but it’s not been audited,” she said.
Since that time, town attorney David Dobson talked with officials from the ABI and Alabama Board of Examiners. He reported that neither entity performs forensic audits in these circumstances, so Dobson approached a private firm, Forensic Strategic Solutions of Birmingham, that specializes in forensic audits.
Kelly Todd, a representative of FSS, was on hand to answer questions, and she assured them that FSS would start the audit in the next few weeks. Councilman Tim Kent made a motion that the town enter into a contract with Forensic Strategic Solutions to perform the audit at the rate of $225 per hour quoted by Todd. The council approved.
In other matters, the council:
• approved Kent’s motion to give supplemental pay to employees of town hall, the water department, and senior center.
• approved two clerks to sign refund checks in the water department and those that are court related.
• approved refunding $100 to Gina Morris for community center rental as the facility had no air conditioning.
• approved Kent’s motion to purchase a four-ton AC unit for the center from One Source at a cost of $6,580.
• approved councilor Greg Ogles’ motion to allocate $250 for an officer to attend training class.
• approved councilor Dale Snead’s motion to allocate $10,000 in monitor upgrades to the water department following ADEM inspection.
• approved Kent’s motion for the town to pay half the cost of replacing a tower and tower camera. Police chief Stephen Gunn said that Blount County 911 will pay the other half of the $1,678 total cost. He explained that the camera cost around $3,000, but insurance will cover part of the cost.