Lawrenceville audit raises concerns

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.,None - Channel 2 Action News obtained an audit of Lawrenceville's city government that shows a lack of accountability and has raised questions about how taxpayer money was spent under the previous mayor.
 
From major city projects to inventory of public works equipment, a 10-page audit showed Gwinnett County’s biggest city government may have been cutting corners and shirking procedures when spending taxpayer money.
 
"Sometimes, it is a network of people who simply don't adhere to the guidelines as written," said Lawrenceville resident and citizen watchdog David Jones. “It was just a lack of oversight."

Jones, with the Lawrenceville Neighborhood Alliance, was just one of the people who called for the audit earlier this year. Residents and current members of the city council wanted to know how money was managed between 2006 and 2010.

The audit, conducted by the firm Moore Stephens Tiller LLC, doesn't specifically say money was being misspent, but that money was flying out the door without the mayor or council's approval.

Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh found numerous examples. The report says when the new police department was being constructed 2009, there was nearly $90,000 dollars in miscellaneous expenses that was never documented or approved. It also says the city’s gas department didn't take proper inventory of “materials, supplies or equipment,” making them difficult to track.
 
"I don’t think there was anyone who was out to do anything that would have lined their pockets, but there was certainly a failure of oversight on how money was being spent,” said Jones.

All of the oversight failures happened under former Mayor's Rex Millsaps' watch.

“It wasn't just a four-year period. A lot of this stuff has been going on for several years," Millsaps said.
 
Milsaps met with Kavanaugh at City Hall on Tuesdsay. He admitted to some of the oversights during his two terms. He also hinted the audit was politically motivated.
 
In the end, he wants what's best for the city moving forward, he said.
 
"Hopefully it will be rectified now," Millsaps said.

Kavanaugh spoke to several Lawrenceville residents who said they are pleased with how the new administration is now handling city business. They hope city leaders will continue to learn from the audit’s findings.



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