“You can’t get there from here” is what some council members would have many of the citizens of Columbus believe regarding a review into prior mismanagement in the City of Columbus government. When you are starting at denial and trying to find truth the journey may seem impossible at first. If the city council continues in opposition of a voluntary investigation then the law allows for ordinary citizens to have access to the city’s information. We can perform our own forensic audit by defining our own scope, performing our own analytical procedures and tests of details, and releasing our findings how and when we see fit. The findings will likely be more impactful delivered in this manner!
While a forensic audit conducted without the consent of the city will certainly include looking into council members and employees of the prior regime, it may be most prudent to start the investigation with those that remain. Also due to lack of consent from the city, the investigation will need to be conducted through Public Records Requests and Freedom of Information Act disclosures. The process will certainly come at a substantial increase in use of city and private resources. Fortunately, there are CPAs, attorneys, data analysts, and other professionals that care enough about the city to volunteer. In seeking truth together, as another quote goes, “We shall either find a way or make one.”
A Better Columbus (“ABC”) has the resources to start moving down this avenue of resolution, but it will take more time and money. If you would like to join the effort, let us know by sending funding and volunteering office hours to perform data entry and analysis. If you have knowledge of fraud that occurred in City Hall or the city departments, reach out to us or report directly to the State Auditor.
Will Sanders, Columbus & Belize
Editor’s note: The letter writer is a Columbus native who is a certified public accountant and a member of A Better Columbus. He is not the director of the Lowndes County Port Authority.