WARNER ROBINS — Mayor Chuck Shaheen said he will not sign a contract for former City Clerk Stan Martin to conduct an investigative audit on city functions.
Shaheen said he has been legally advised not to sign it, although that advice did not come from City Attorney Jim Elliott.
According to Shaheen, the city’s charter prohibits a fired employee from having a contract with the city for a period of time.
Section 4-605 of the charter appears to dictate that period of time to be one year. Martin was fired in December.
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Shaheen also cited a part of the city charter, Sec. 2-301 (b)(3), that states the mayor has the power to execute all city contracts.
It is unclear whether the council also has the authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the city.
“I voted against it,” Shaheen said. “Why would I sign it?”
Whether Martin is conducting the investigative audit was still unclear Wednesday, following Tuesday’s City Council meeting that raised more questions than provided answers.
At least one council member believes Martin is officially on the job.
A copy of the contract obtained Wednesday from the city contained only Martin’s signature. It is dated Aug. 18.
“I don’t have any comment,” Martin said when reached by phone Wednesday.
The contract states that Martin would “investigate and review the governmental, administrative, personnel and business practices and actions of the City with a primary focus on the time period beginning Jan. 1, 2010,” as was dictated in a resolution City Council passed in August initiating the audit.
The investigation’s primary focus would be on compliance with the city charter, city code and other written policies and procedures of the city.
“The purpose of the investigation shall be to detect major problems, and no representation is made that all problems will be identified,” the contract states.
The work should be completed in two to three months, although either party may increase or decrease the contract period at any time for good cause, the contract states.
Martin would give oral reports to council at regular meetings, with a final written report to be delivered at the investigation’s conclusion.
Martin’s final written report would include an overview of reviewed documents, a list of individuals interviewed (although some may not be named to ensure confidentially), copies of records found to be substantially not in compliance with city policy, conclusions as to whether policies were violated and recommendations related to the potential need for additional investigations, according to the contract.
Recommendations for corrective action also may be given.
Martin would be paid $100 an hour up to $800 per day, plus “reasonable and actual” expenses, if any.
The contract allows the city, by resolution, to put a maximum dollar amount on the work in advance of Martin performing it.
The idea of Martin conducting the audit has been contentious.
Martin’s termination stems from an investigation into an October 2009 incident in which he and another employee were said to have peeked above ceiling tiles of the the late mayor Donald Walker’s office looking for guns and money rumored to be kept by Walker.
Nothing was found, and although a GBI investigation ensued, no charges were filed.
City Council voted unanimously to terminate Martin’s employment on Dec. 29.
Shaheen objected to Martin conducting the investigation when the resolution, which he voted against, was passed Aug. 17.
He said at the time that Martin had told two department heads he was going to find a way to get Shaheen out of office.
Martin publicly has expressed displeasure with the current council for not rehiring him earlier this year.
City Council members have said Martin has the knowledge for the job.
In his contract, Martin notes that he is a former city employee.
As a lawyer he has represented one or more city employees against the city, currently represents two city employees in matters not related to the city and represents two individuals — who are not employees — in Municipal Court.
The contract then states that, “Investigator is of the opinion that he has no conflict of interest that would prevent him from performing the services as previously described and City expressly agrees.”
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.