One accountant working on the 2016 City of Statham audit predicted last week it could be completed by the end of the month.

One city council member and the mayor were suspicious of that timing. Council member Dwight McCormic said, “You guys are just not delivering,” talking about multiple years of audits. Mayor Robert Bridges, who pressed Woody Hawkins for a time the 2016 audit would be done, has said for several months he “can’t get anything out of” the accountants.

Accountants from the firm of Hawkins & McNair in Winder have been working on audits for the city for more than two years.

The two partners in the firm attended the budget hearing last week, but they were not on the agenda. They spoke extensively to the council about the audit before the public hearing was called to order.

The firm completed the 2015 audit last fall, but it did not meet an end of the year time frame for the 2016 audit. Hawkins said the process had to be changed, causing the delay. He said the “trial balance” numbers for the city’s 2016 audit have to be changed, which caused a cascade of other changes and delays.

Statham has not had a current audit in more than four years. Its 2016, 2017 and 2018 audits have not been completed. The 2015 audit was not done until the fall of 2018 — it was due before the end of 2015.

The Fiscal Year 2019 will end in two weeks and two business days. The audit for it will be due before the end of the calendar year.

The state’s “local government audits” office has just issued its list of “noncompliant local governments.” Statham is included in the list for not having its three audits for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Hawkins told the council his firm has not done an adequate job of communicating with the council and readily agreed to a request from vice-mayor Perry Barton that the firm report once a month.

See more in the June 12 edition of the Barrow News-Journal.

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