Howardville gets a poor audit rating

Sunday, October 30, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY -- An audit requested by the residents of Howardville uncovered numerous problems, prompting State Auditor Tom Schweich to rate the overall performance of the city as poor.

However, second-term Mayor Jessie Newson said the city has already implemented some of the auditors' recommendations and is working with their attorney on other issues.

"I don't have a problem with (the audit)," Newson said. "I helped them. We were making the changes."

One of the first issues of concern for the auditors, which prompted them to give the city the lowest possible on the state auditor's rating system, involved former members of the city government, Newson said.

In the auditor's report, it pointed out the city leases the Public Safety and Service Building from the non-profit Howardville Development Corporation. "This lease, and the way in which it has operated, raises serious concerns. At the time the city entered into the lease, the then-mayor and two aldermen who participated in discussions about the lease and voted in favor of entering the lease, were also officers of the HDC. Missouri law prohibits elected officials and employees of political subdivisions from participating in this manner when such a conflict of interest exists," according to the audit report.

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