Augusta mayor issues statement calling for audit of the city’s financial practices

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. issued a statement calling for an audit of the city’s financial practices after serious questions pointed at how he and other elected officials are spending tax dollars.

In a statement issued Monday, Davis says:

To provide a timely response to recent unsubstantiated allegations of abuse, misuse, and misconduct of taxpayer funds through the use of City-owned credit and purchase cards, I am directing, according to Title 1 General Government Section, 1-2-26 (k), that the current ongoing external audit of the financial management practices of several City Departments by SME CPAs (Serotta, Maddocks, and Evans CPAs) be expanded to include the Mayor’s credit card usage. SME CPAs is one of the oldest and most significant tax, accounting, and auditing firms in Augusta. Fortunately, SME CPA is already engaged in conducting similar audits for the City. The addition of the Office of the Mayor and the Mayor’s credit card usage can be accomplished with little additional expense to the local government.

Unsupported allegations of the nature of those that have been recklessly reported by some local media entities potentially weaken public trust and confidence in our elected leaders and the ability of our City to represent its citizens effectively. Additionally, it has the chilling effect of hindering economic growth and development opportunities as businesses are constantly looking at how cities manage their financial resources.

Accordingly, it is appropriate that an external audit be conducted to confirm government compliance with state and local laws. The audit will recommend areas where current accounting practices should be revised to strengthen the credibility of the public employees responsible for substantiating compliance with the City’s financial guidelines. SME CPAs will also investigate the allegations of fraud or corruption; and revise, as necessary, the processes used to account for public funds accurately. This is an opportunity to focus holistically on financial governance and procedures and not a person or elected office. The hope is that the audit is complete within 90 days, under coordination with SME CPAs (Serotta, Maddocks, and Evans CPAs).

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