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


J. Richardson said...


Thank you for taking the time to come up with a comprehensive strategy to address this situation. This seems to be a reasonable approach that should be acceptable to all parties. Many taxpayers will take great interest in this report.

Anonymous said...

The performance audit, much like the county supervisors who voted no, is a "no brainer." The potential savings from auditing the Calhoun Station project alone (about $300k) could pay for 100 comprehensive audits, to say nothing of the other $9.5 million already spent. Anyone who doesn't want to see this happen is likely on someone's payroll...

Jo said...

I'm appalled by the vote of the Madison County Supervisors not to have the State Auditor or Attorney General investigate the money paid to Rudy Warnock. I thought County Supervisors were to protect the citizens not fill someone's pocket with money. What do we need to do as citizens to get an investigation into this problem done by the State? What are the Supervisors who voted against it hiding from the citizens?

Thanks for your continued support of the citizens and John Bell also.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that the "Good Ole Boy" politics are still alive in Madison County. How long will the taxpayers of Madison County stand by and watch their hard earned tax dollars wasted? We need more Supervisors like you,Mr. Smith, that care about the citizens and not about their personal agendas. Madison County will hopefully one day move ahead to become a "World Class" county to live in when we stop this way of doing business!

Anonymous said...

I realize that the duty of this internal audit falls on Chancery Clerk Arthur Johnston by statute. I am not sure that the citizens of Madison County will be satified or comfortable with an internal audit in this matter involving these surmounting engineering fees charged to our county. Johnston may review these contracts and fees and find no findings. It could just be a matter that we can no longer afford this engineer which is reason to look elsewhere for better savings to the county. I would like to see what the county proposed in the fiscal budgets during the years in question.

Amber said...

Thank you for being a voice of reason here in Madison County. Your efforts are appreciated by the taxpayers, and I'm glad that you've again brought another fiscal concern that has been bantered about for a while now to the attention of the public. I'm so glad that you're representing my area of the county. Keep up the good work!

Kevin said...

Keep raising questions on the Supe board. I'd rather you ask the tough questions and it be nothing than never ask at all. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I see Tim Johnson now says you are on a witch hunt, and that he is going to thoroughly look at the Engineering fees and compare them to other contract fees for similar work. He seems to want everyone to know that he is looking at fees, which are dependent on many factors. Fees charged by large consulting firms reflect high in-house overhead costs, whereas fees charged by small firms such as Warnock and Associates have much lower overhead. I have no doubt that Mr. Johnson can find similar projects that are costed the same, however, to insure a direct comparison, the size of the firm (overhead) must be considered, as well as any subcontracting. Small firms like Warnock and Associates typically subcontract out much of the work because they lack the in-house expertise or labor force to get it done. Large firms can do a turn key job with minimal subcontracting, however, their costs are higher.
To correctly compare fees, these factors must be taken into account.

Melanie said...

I would like to get on your e-mail list. I would like to say a very big thank you for your efforts as county supervisor and you have my full support as a taxpayer of Madison county. I was told months ago by a neighbor about the excessive payments Rudy Warnock has been receiving from Madison county. It's past time that these issues should be dealt with by the board. I'm certain it easy to get discouraged at times, but there alot of conversations going on regarding this issue and many people are behind your efforts!

Please keep up the good work and realize there are many taxpayers very appreciative of your efforts exposing this issue.
Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Wow! If Tim Johnson is serving the people and not Rudy, you could have fooled me. Everyone with a pulse knows Rudy Warnock is a sleazy individual. He and Johnson are especially tight. The supervisors who support Rudy have no reason to unless they are benefitting in some way. It's a circle of wealth at the taxpayers expense. We need more voices to stop these guys from padding each others pockets. Just because "everybody does it" doesn't mean we should accept it. Rudy doesn't even pretend to have ethics or morals. How can you expect a man to spend taxpayer money sensibly when he flaunts his money at the playboy mansion and hosts stripper parties. I'll bet the public officials at these parties don't want to be mentioned. Shrug off the personal attacks made by Johnson. I'm sure the day will come when few will want to cozy up to Rudy and have his back.

Jimmy said...

D I, thanks for having the guts and integrity to bring this issue to the forefront. There is something definitely wrong with this picture! Keep up the good work!

Kevin said...


Anonymous said...

I rember the good ole days when Rudy was chartering a plane to fly local city engineers down to the beach and flying strippers/ escorts in from Memphis. Those photos are classic!