City of Savannah Receives 'Poor' Audit Review

Published 11/21 2013 10:39PM

Updated 11/22 2013 09:06AM

(SAVANNAH, Mo.) People in Savannah wanted a state audit of City Hall, and they got it. The results came in Thursday night.

"Overall, we gave this audit a rating of poor," said Deputy State Auditor Harry Otto. Otto traveled from Jefferson City to Savannah to reveal the results

Otto's report included 41 findings against the city. Many of them were in relation to how city departments handled money and accounted for receipts. However, Otto said he did not find any fraud or embezzlement, though he qualified his comment.

"That's not to say it necessarily did not occur, but we found no evidence of it," Otto said.

The 34 page audit also found some city employees had been receiving improper benefits including:
  • Not being assessed late penalties or disconnection notices for late utility payments
  • Receiving comp pay for extra hours worked even though the extra pay is against state law
  • Not reporting benefits for tax purposes such as golf and swimming memberships and even free cemetery plots

View the complete report here

"It's not unusual to see 'poor' under a petition audit," said Otto. "I think we've had one good, no excellents, a number of fairs, but predominantly poor when it comes to a petition audit.

The report is a result of 1,100 man hours of work coming at a cost of about $50,000.

The original call for a petition came after concerns of how the Park Board was doing business. There were no serious findings against them, which came as vindication for former mayor Dave Ingersoll.

"People didn't want to believe that," Ingersoll said.  "They thought it wasn't true. Even Park Board Members. That was hurtful because it caused a division between the council and myself."

For current city leaders, they say the community can now move on.

"They found 41 things," said current city administrator Bruce Lundy. "But, it's 41 things that we can deal with, nothing that is out of the ordinary that we are just going to have to live with."

Of the 41 recommendations made by the state auditor, 36 have already been implemented or will soon be implemented. The city is considering the other five recommendations.

Because of the poor audit rating, the state auditor's office will make a return trip to Savannah in 90-120 days to follow up on the city's progress.

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