At long last, the state auditor’s review of Pevely has been published. The city received the auditor’s worst rating: Poor. This means that:
The audit results indicate this entity needs to significantly improve operations. The report contains numerous findings that require management’s immediate attention, and/or the entity has indicated most recommendations will not be implemented. In addition, if applicable, most prior recommendations have not been implemented.
- There was an inappropriate transfer of $200,000 from the water and sewer fund to general operations. The money has since been paid back.
- City budgets did not meet state requirements.
- Large purchases were not put out for bids, and attorney and accounting services were not periodically bid out.
- The city paid over $12,000 since 2003 for the mayor’s cell phone bill (that saga led to his resignation). The documentation that he submitted was quite shoddy, including bills with totals whited-out and handwritten in.
- As has been previously reported, taxes that were authorized were not collected for many years.
- Utility accounts were not well-reconciled, and clerks had the ability to independently adjust accounts.
- The city gave unlawful attendance bonuses and didn’t have employees with city vehicles track personal vs business mileage.
- Numerous Sunshine Law violations.
Obviously, the mayor and aldermen were not doing their duties over the past years. But what about the previous city administrators, Happy Welch and Jason Eisenbeis, who now have the same job for Festus and Crystal City, respectively? This kind of stuff falls right within their responsibilities. It was the most recent administrator, Terry Thomas, who reportedly discovered some of these improprieties (although the audit was underway when the discoveries were made). I hope residents of the Twin Cities are keeping an eye on their governments. Perhaps this audit will give them an idea of places to look.
An audit was released in March on the city’s court system. It said the court did not dispose of bond money in a timely manner.