Jellico vice mayor plans audit; hopes to streamline finances

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By Charlotte Underwood

Vice Mayor Mike Johnson’s first official act, as the new Jellico Finance Chair will be an internal audit of the town’s finances.

“I think we need not only external, but internal audits as well,” Johnson said on Tuesday. He said he plans to work closely with the auditors in the hopes of streamlining the town’s finances.

“My line of work is finance, so I feel putting me in the finance chair position was not a bad move by the mayor,” Johnson said.

Johnson said efficiency was behind his promise of an audit.

“I feel like we can become more efficient by upgrading technology and taking a closer look; it’s going to be a long drawn out process,” Johnson said.

While an audit is definite, he doesn’t know when the process will begin, the vice mayor said.

“I want to get with the city recorder and see how we do our accounting practices and go over the books, before making any decisions,” Johnson said.

Mayor Forster Baird had little to say of the imminent audit.

“We have an auditor and are audited every year by a state certified auditor,” Baird stated. Beyond that Baird declined further comment.

He said he felt the less that was said on the matter the better.

The last audit, according to Baird was at the end of the 2007- 08 budget year.

Former director of finance, Elsie Crawford said she saw no reason for an audit.

Crawford speculated the threat of an audit was made by Johnson because he was angry.

“It’s just my personal opinion, but I think perhaps Mike’s threat of an audit was directed at the mayor putting aside money in the reserve funds,” Crawford said.

She pointed out Johnson is the only one who can co-sign the checks and there is really no one for him to audit.

“I’m not pro or anti-Forster, but since he’s been mayor, we watch the finances even more than before. We look at those finances every month and we have an auditor. Each department heads their own budget and tries to control spending.” “There’s not much you can do, when the finances are in the shape that Jellico’s is,” Crawford said.