WARNER ROBINS — A letter recently sent to city officials by former City Clerk Stan Martin includes discoveries made in the beginning phases of an investigative audit into city functions, along with a bill for work already done.
The letter, dated Sept. 20, also talks about the contract submitted to the city by Martin for the work he’s been asked to do.
City officials said Friday no contract has been approved. By whom he was asked to complete the audit is still in question.
According to Martin’s letter, which was obtained at City Hall, he has made the following discoveries:
n One person hired into a newly created position that was never advertised or posted. The person makes $30,000 per year and had no prior experience in the field in which he’s currently working.
n One person placed into a part-time position at $7.25 an hour who began making $12 an hour instead. The explanation was that the person would become full-time in another not classified position in two weeks. Martin did not determine whether the latter has yet to occur.
n Two individuals hired into full-time jobs based only upon résumés, when filling out an application is required by the city’s personnel rules and regulations.
n Three transfers or promotions where the final pay rate was much higher than the rate posted. According to the city code, a person can only receive a maximum 10 percent pay increase from a promotion or transfer, and it must receive final approval by mayor and council.
n Three employees promoted into new positions that had not been advertised, meaning no one else applied.
There is one act Martin mentioned as a serious breach of city policy. He included no further information on it, however.
Martin included a bill for $1,040 for time he has put in to complete the audit, all at $100 per hour. The bill included six hours spent looking through records in human resources on Aug. 19 and Aug. 24, two hours spent with the purchasing department and 1.1 hours in City Hall. He also billed the city 0.3 hours for a call he received from an unnamed employee on Sept. 3 and an hour on Sept. 20 for drafting the letter to city officials.
Why the work began without a signed contract is unknown.
“To my knowledge, he’s not been given anything that’s not already available through open records,” City Attorney Jim Elliott said Friday.
Councilman Paul Shealy said Friday that several names had been discussed by the council about who would perform the audit. Those conversations did not take place during City Council meetings.
Others who had been mentioned said they would not perform the requested functions, Shealy said. Who contacted Stan Martin wasn’t known Friday.
“I really don’t know. I know we talked about it and who was going to do it,” Shealy said. “His name came up. I think someone called him. I don’t know who, but it was not me.”
Shealy said City Attorney Jim Elliott was working to determine whether the council was within its legal right to contract with Martin for city services. The mayor and council voted 4-3 in favor of the investigative audit in August. Elliott has said the contract was sent to Mayor Chuck Shaheen’s office. At issue is whether Shaheen has to sign it, Shealy said.
“One attorney said we got the majority of the votes, so we could build the Taj Mahal,” he said.
At issue with the resolution, Elliott said, is the wording of the document, which leaves open the intended purpose of the investigation and whether Martin can do it. According to the meeting notes from Aug. 16: “Councilman (Daron) Lee moved to approve a resolution that authorizes the mayor and council of the City of Warner Robins, under Charter Section 2-205, to execute a contract to obtain the services of an auditor to investigate governmental, administrative, personnel and business practices and action of the city with a primary focus on the time period beginning January 1, 2010, and continuing forward.”
“The resolution has to have much more specificity,” Elliott said. “An audit also can only be done by a certified public accountant. And, to my knowledge, (Martin) is not an accountant.”
Martin, who declined to comment, wrote to city officials that before he continues with the audit, he would like to know whether he has the approval to do so.
“There seems to be an ongoing debate as to whether (the contract for services) has been adopted,” he wrote. “My only request in this regard is that the contract either be affirmed or repudiated, preferably with a public announcement. If I am to continue, it is important that the employees know that I am conducting an authorized investigation and that the city has expressly agreed not to retaliate against them for speaking with me.
“Conversely, if the city does not desire my services, then I would like to know that so that I can pursue other work and opportunities.”
To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.