Monday, June 22, 2009

Supervisor calls for comprehensive Performance Audit of County Engineer Function

Press Release
Contact: D.I. Smith
Phone: (601) 707-8845
10 A.M. DST, June 22, 2009
Supervisor calls for comprehensive Performance audit of Madison County procedures and oversight for Engineer Contracting, planning, operations, and billing
CANTON, MS, June 22, 2009: Recent news articles regarding payments of $9.5M to the Madison County Engineer, Rudy Warnock, and his company, Warnock and Associates, have created an outrage among taxpayers; especially coming on the heels of the recent largest tax increase in Madison County history. The Citizens are rightly asking for answers as to who is in control and are all guidelines, procedures and statutes being followed? The Madison County taxpayers deserve nothing less than a full accounting.
The June 11, 2009, Madison County Journal article “Warnock paid $9.5 million since 2005”; and the June 18, 2009, EDITORIAL – “Review engineering fees” raise questions to as to subcontracting, change orders, re-design requests, and oversight and review of the County Engineer work and billing. And, have citizens asking “What are the “checks and balances” and are procedures and laws being followed? Are we being fleeced?”
We owe it to Madison County taxpayers to have a full and comprehensive independent performance and operational audit conducted by the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, assisted by the American Council of Engineer Companies (ACEC) . This evaluation of all functional areas of the County Engineer operations procedures, sub-contracting, planning, and billing will determine the strengths and weaknesses of the business processes and provide direction to improve County response to taxpayer needs.
I strongly believe a full and comprehensive Performance and Operations Audit will provide the County with a solid foundation to make any necessary changes in the way we do business. Too often, important decisions are based on political whim, private agenda or ‘what looks good at the time’ without a long term strategy, comprehensive analysis and comparison of alternative options; and may not provide positive, cost effective or progressive results. Outside agencies with the solid reputation of the State Auditor’s Office provides a vast array of capabilities, experience and knowledge in these fields and will serve to capitalize on the existing strengths of Madison County.
The Performance and Procedural Audit should consist of a review of the following, but not limited to:
a. All aspects of the County Engineer operations, including sub-contractor pass through procedures, plans, change orders, review and oversight, and billing.
b. Review Board of Supervisor’s Budget Process and Compliance to Relevant Laws – review of strategic long range planning systems and implementation, review of Board minutes, financial activity and audits, accounting procedures, and receipt and filing of completed projects and associated documentation.
c. Workflow Analysis/Systems Review of related Major Departments – review of implementation of policies and procedures, review of purchasing, accounts payable, and receiving procedures, review of paperwork flow, etc.
d. Review and provide recommendations to improve project and program analysis and performance tracking resulting in open, accountable, transparent, and responsible government.
Additionally, much has been said about sub-contracting. I ask the Board of Supervisors to ask the County Engineer for the original copies of sub-contractor invoices for the environmental clearance work mentioned in the paper for Calhoun Station Phases II and III that was billed to the County for more than $325,000. It has been alleged that this work was actually done for less than $30,000. The taxpayers need the facts!
The goal is to review and evaluate the current level of service practices; determine what if anything has been done improperly; determine what improvements and efficiencies can be achieved though application of best business practices; and to reassure residents of Madison County that proper procedures are being followed and their money is wisely spent, especially during these troubling economic times.
Clarion Ledger Panel to eye contracts
Madison County engineer's work under scrutiny

Here is a link to the WAPT News article and video from the Tuesday, 10 PM, news....

See the 3 related articles at the Madison County Journal

MCJ Editorial

See the Madison County Herald article and comment at

See the Madison County Journal -- Auditor: No investigation into fees at