AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – For months, questions have loomed about the Mayor’s office spending.
But on the day commissioners expected answers some say the audit presentation missed the mark.
“That was received as information only and whenever you were trying to ask, or some of us were asking questions, we really didn’t get good answers,” says District 10 Commissioner John Clarke.
According to the CPAs at Serotta Maddocks Evans & Company, the Mayor’s office did not go over budget in 2020.
However, the firm acknowledges the mayor’s office exceeded the city’s procurement policy max of $5,000 when it gave $24,969 to LC studios, LLC in Florida between December 2020 and march 2021.
The Mayor’s office also oversees a “My Brother’s Keeper’s” account which is earmarked for youth programs in the city.
The CPAs show there were expenses for a big box store, one airline ticket and a hotel stay as well as PayPal payments.
S-M-E shows the use of the credit card by the Mayor’s office is not in compliance with the state code.
But, the results note the purchases are not prohibited by state code or county ordinance.
S-M-E also suggested the commissioners approve a credit card policy which happened during Tuesday’s meeting.
Mayor Hardie Davis, Junior explains, “We not only agree with them but I think the most important piece is that the city of Augusta has adopted a credit card policy of which applies not only to the Mayor’s office but every credit card that’s being used in the city of Augusta.”
While the Mayor was pleased with the results, some Commissioners aren’t ready to close the book on this issue.
“One of the questions that remains is were all the transactions appropriate. The auditor answered part of that, said that there were some procurement issues. But, in regards to the PayPal transactions the only thing he did say in regards to those is the government shouldn’t use PayPal to pay providers,” says District 8 Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
“What I was listening to during the presentation was that it would be nice to have other eyes. We need other eyes to look at it. Whether that be a forensic audit, or what, we just need to have somebody else look into this,” explains District 3 Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
While there are still many questions about the spending, Mayor Davis says, in this case, the buck doesn’t stop with him.
“The department that’s tasked with being the guardrails at no point in time during this period of time has come to this office and said, ‘Mayor you’ve exceeded thresholds.’ At no point in time,” Mayor Davis concludes.
Mayor Davis says his office staff will work with procurement in getting trained and work work within thresholds.