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Stockbridge Financial Woes: The Sutton Report

Stockbridge Financial Woes: The Sutton Report

The entire report at the root of the city’s forensic audit can be viewed at www.scribd.com/Henry_Citizen.   

The City of Stockbridge has been in the news because of a pending forensic audit of the city’s finances.  Last night's City Council Meeting was not video recorded; however, Jason Smith of the Henry Herald, audio recorded the session. 

Hampton City Elections

Hampton City Elections

The Citizen asked around and got these opinions and insight about candidates for Hampton City Council.

  • Henry Byrd owns/operates "Speedway Donuts" in Hampton with his wife and son.  He is a former supervisor in the manufacturing field and is a driven, successful businessman.  He is often quiet during council meetings and usually votes his mind, not aligning himself with anyone in particular.  He has experience in homebuilding and other types of construction and is quite frugal while still being sensible toward necessary purchases.

Henry Byrd helped us take back our government from the last bunch in office. When they finally changed out the guards, Hampton was close to being broke. I will vote for Henry.

Stockbridge City Elections

Stockbridge City Elections

The local news article “Community Development at Heart of Stockbridge Elections” listed the incumbents Shirley Dabney, Fred Evans and Kathryn Gilbert.

The contenders are Richard Steinberg, Alphonso Thomas, Beverly Edwards, Robin Buschman, Houston Nelson, Rashida Cloud and Charles Reid.

We recall earlier reports that Fred Evans was embroiled in an ethics complaint involving his failure to attend council meetings.  He has missed about one-third of all meetings in the last two years, only going to City Hall to collect his paycheck.  There was also an issue with a bounced check for $1,800 to a local business. 

Kathryn Gilbert has been the most vocal spokesperson among council members.  It is typical that Evans and Dabney simply follow her lead.  To some observers that would indicate the “one for all” image of the current city council.

T-SPLOST Risk & Gamble

The Citizen newsletter #290 featured an editorial named “T-SPLOST meeting in McDonough”

A city councilman took issue with the comment:

The 15% returned to localities will be handed out according to GDOT pre-approved projects.  Those funds will not be available for discretionary use by the cities. AND, the amounts returned to cities and localities will be determined by the GDOT.

The Citizen admits to error.  The funding returned to counties and cities will not be based on predetermined project lists.  The returned funding will be available for discretionary projects by the counties and cities. 

Three Stockbridge Incumbents’ Voting Records

The Citizen newsletter. From staff reports

Here are some more voting records of the three sitting incumbents running for re-election this fall. These records are important because they involve the rights of the citizens. Some of the incumbents are trying to explain away the reason they voted the way they did. Here is more for the citizens to read:

1. They all voted to control the agenda and the order of business. Ordinance 10-211 Order of Business regarding regular meeting dates. It had worked for 30+ years now that we have a new Mayor they don’t want him to control it. They feel they must take away the power of the Mayor to set the business and agenda. All three incumbents worked with the former Mayor in this capacity where the Mayor set what the meeting was about, now they want full control.

2. They all voted to control who sat on what committees. Ordinance 10-212 Election of Committee Officers.

Stockbridge: GBI Wants Forensic Audit

Stockbridge:  GBI Wants Forensic Audit

The Citizen newsletter.  From staff reports

In a move of transparency and public disclosure, Mayor Lee Stuart adjusted the Council Agenda on Monday Sept. 12th to include the following notification from the Georgia bureau of Investigation.

We have recently been advised of possible financial irregularities within the city of Stockbridge financial funds.

These findings stem from a management training exercise conducted in May and June 2011. A forensic audit needs to be conducted to determine if criminal activity has occurred. This must be done prior to the GBI becoming involved in an investigation. The forensic audit needs to be conducted by an outside firm at the city's expense. If criminal activity is discovered the findings should be discussed with the District Attorney.

T-SPLOST meeting in McDonough

T-SPLOST meeting in McDonough

An informational meeting was held at the Henry County administration building on Tuesday, Sept. 13th.  Central Committee member BJ Mathis opened the meeting by saying the object was to be information, not whether anyone supports or opposes the new tax.  The format included a panel of GDOT and Henry County representatives answering questions prepared beforehand by attendees.

It was informational.  The panel members were very well informed, giving a sense of organization and transparency to the T-SPLOST agenda.  “Follow the Money” was a theme that appeared designed to allay fears that this tax program would become a boondoggle. There was talk about citizen and governmental oversight, project definitions and schedules.

Several questions involved What If scenarios. What if the economy rebounds and revenues exceed expectations?  What if some projects are completed under budget?