The Missouri state auditor concludes her work in Joplin today after releasing a follow-up audit report. The follow-up report is meant to see if the City of Joplin has changed any internal operations, after the initial audit report released in August gave the city a "poor" rating.
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says the follow-up audit report on the City of Joplin shows progress from the initial audit report.
"We found that city officials have made many improvements. Have taken many steps in the right direction," says Galloway.
The initial audit report said the city did not always comply with the Sunshine Law, a law aimed at letting the public know how their government is working. The initial report said city council members shouldn't have discussed some issues in meetings that were closed to the public. Additionally, the initial report said there weren't enough minutes, or notes, from some meetings.
Auditor Galloway says the city is more consistent with its note-taking, and careful about issues discussed in closed session.
But the follow-up report also references a city council vote that the auditor says broke the law.
One month after the initial audit report was released, the city attorney called each council member to vote on whether to accept former city Councilman Mike Woolston's resignation. KOAM and KFJX initially reported on this incident. The state auditor says this was a violation of state statute, which requires a quorum of council members to be physically present in a meeting before any other members are allowed to vote by telephone.
The follow-up report also says the city did not follow its own charter when bidding out a lease for a golf course lawn mower. KOAM and KFJX reported on this incident in February.
"I know this is an area you have focused on and have really highlighted this issue. I want to take a step back on the importance of this. When there's a contract put in place, tax payers are responsible for that contract. So, it is imperative that city rules are followed, that state law is followed, and that that contract is the best deal for citizens," says Galloway.
Galloway says though the follow-up report is done, citizens should keep an eye on city government.
City Manager Sam Anselm was not available for comment today.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas