Pevely to be Audited

22 Jun

Pevely city administrator Terry Thomas announced at the June 6 board of aldermen meeting that a petition was successfully filed with the state auditor to commence an audit of the city’s finances from 2012. The audit should begin any day now, if it hasn’t already.

This is a good move. The city will complain about the cost (about $40,000), which it will have to pay, but it is worth it to see why the city is so broke, and what can be done to ameliorate the situation (other than raise taxes, the city’s current solution). As former alderman Dave Shelley said in the June 6 Leader, “The truth is, even as an alderman I could never find out where all of our money was at and why we were in such desperate need for money, which we shouldn’t be.” He also said, “We’ve wasted more money than that [the cost of the audit] on other issues.”

This blog salutes John Pashia, the petitioner of record, who got the process rolling to gather the 449 signatures that were collected (401 were accepted by the county clerk; 272 were required). If you want to thank him, perhaps go get a haircut at his John’s Pevely Barbershop (which I can find no address or listing for). It looks like he got the petition started and submitted in only about two weeks, if I read the article correctly. The 272 requirement equals 15% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election (which was in 2012).

Three former aldermen – Dave Shelley, Freddie Busch, and Ed Ziegelmeyer – signed the petition. It is interesting that the latter two signed it, because they seemed to go right along with most of the city’s recent wasteful initiatives when they were in office. Busch, who was defeated by Ilda Kennon in April, spoke in favor of providing free mosquito spraying to the Teamsters Camp. Both men were in favor of fighting to keep Pure Pleasure from opening up in the city, a fight that has and will cost the city big bucks (financial penalties from the lawsuit should be determined next month, I believe). This suggests that even they must have felt in the dark about city finances. There seems to be a lot of sneaking around in Pevely. The mayor was totally unaware, he claimed, in advance of two recent council actions –  firing the city attorney and discussing a change in the length of mayoral terms (from 4 years back to 2), according to this week’s Leader. I am told that not much information was provided – at least to some council members – before the recent vote to raise the city’s transportation and city hall sales taxes. And of course there was the anonymous ratting out of Shelley that forced him to resign in April.

Speaking of these taxes, Thomas says proceeds from these taxes could be used to pay for the audit. It was brought up at the most recent alderman meeting (which Thomas missed), though, that this money has to be dedicated to the purposes it was enacted for – namely, road improvements and paying for the city palace hall. This sounds like the kind of spending activity that might show up on an audit report some day.

For some reference, Crystal City was audited in 2009 (also by petition). The report is here, and here’s video of Elliot Davis from Fox 2 paying a visit to town to discuss the results. I would love to see Davis do a segment in Pevely when this audit wraps up. Findings from the state auditor in the audit report include hiring an outside legal firm without bids or council approval, a city clerk accepting collect calls at work, overpaying for a land purchase, and lack of adequate written policies and documentation for various procedures. What will the auditor find in Pevely?

Former Arnold councilwoman Doris Borgelt said back in October she was going to circulate a petition to get an audit done in Arnold. I think this is sorely needed, and I hope this effort is ongoing. By my count, 1,306 signatures would be needed to trigger an Arnold audit, based on November 2012 voter turnout in the city.

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2 Responses to “Pevely to be Audited”

  1. Marcia Johnson October 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Actually, a petition audit is a performance audit and not a financial audit. Look it up. Call the State Auditor’s Office. I did. The fact that Dave Shelley did not know what type of audit it was (or John Pashia for that matter) I think shows a lack of respect for the taxpayers. A financial audit is already done annually by a CPA. Furthermore, all bills are voted on by the Board of Alderman, so if he was unaware of what the funds were being spent out he should’ve asked questions. It was his job to do so.

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