Audit brings former city clerk back into fray

WARNER ROBINS — City officials are mum on exactly what is being sought in an investigative audit on city functions.

The resolution for the audit, approved 4-3 by the council at Monday’s meeting, listed “personnel, financial and governmental operations” as what would be investigated.

City Attorney Jim Elliott said a contract to perform the audit has been submitted to the city by former City Clerk Stan Martin. Martin was fired in December after an investigation into an incident in October where he and another city employee were said to have looked above ceiling tiles at the mayor’s office for guns and money stored there by deceased Mayor Donald Walker.

They didn’t find anything, but then-Mayor John Havrilla had the incident investigated by the GBI. No charges were filed.

Mayor Chuck Shaheen, who added a vote to represent his feelings against the audit, said he was fine with the council wanting the audit, but did not want it to be done by someone with personal interests.

“This guy clearly told two of my department heads that I wasn’t going to finish my term. He was gonna find a way to get me out of office,” Shaheen said of Martin, who publicly voiced his displeasure with the current council for not rehiring him during a precouncil session earlier this year. “I haven’t done anything wrong, but (Martin) is going to try to find something.”

Montie Walters, the city’s director of utilities, said Martin made negative statements about the mayor’s competency after an appeal hearing involving a terminated employee Martin was representing.

A message left for Martin was not returned Thursday.

Councilman Paul Shealy said Thursday that Martin was a good person to perform the audit because he has a working knowledge of the city’s functions. Also, he said, it may give Martin an opportunity to rebuild his reputation after the events of last fall.

“He’ll know, if we had any doubts, what to look for and give us a good report,” Shealy said. “If he does have a vindictive side, it still would not relate to his report. He can only report facts that he can back up.”

To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.