At yesterday’s city council meeting, it was a split vote on the claims docket, which was not passed, since Councilwoman Fannie Johnson was not in attendance. Councilman Weston Lindemann once again brought up that he has had it brought to his attention that several city employees have been abusing payroll in various ways. He says he requested two years of time sheets for six employees and found significant issues with three of them.
Lindemann says, “I uncovered forged documents when I requested that information, so it’s really a question of is it just 3 employees out of 500 that are abusing the system, forging documents and things of that nature, or is this a larger issue that needs a forensic audit and potentially the state auditor to come in and clean this up.”
Councilwoman Kim Houston has also voted against the docket for the past few months due to what she believes in more money being spent than what is coming into the city, but there are complaints of other council members that if the docket doesn’t get passed, then bills and city employees will not get paid.
“Instead of voting no on the whole claims docket, which would mean none of our city bills gets paid and nobody gets paid. In good conscious, I can’t say to the person out there making nine or ten dollars an hour that we’re not going to pay you. I can’t do that. I can’t put the city in the situation to say, ‘ok we’re not going to pay any bills.’ I don’t know what would happen if we didn’t pay the power, gas, and insurance bills and all the other kind of bills that the city has,” says Councilwoman Fannie Johnson.
Councilman Tyrone Johnson, who has been voting yes on the claims docket, said in a statement that bills and city employees must be paid and not approving would affect the livelihood of their employees and relationships the city has with their business partners.
“If I were to vote for the claims docket then I would knowingly be voting for something that looks as if it’s illegal. Any council member who does that would then be putting themselves at a legal risk as a result.” -Lindemann
The council has until next Friday to make a decision on the claims docket. They will be holding a special meeting tomorrow at 8am to look into the docket further.