Video from 3 months ago
1. Investigation of DeKalb County “no bid” and “piecemeal” Purchasing Practices: We strongly recommend that the May-June (or subsequent) Grand Jury, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-12-71 (b)(2) and (b)(4), conduct an investigation of both the “piecemeal” and “no bid” purchasing practices of DeKalb County Executive Assistant Richard Stogner and those individuals under his direction. We recommend that the Accounting Firm of KPMG be retained to assist the Grand Jury in this investigation. KPMG is the public accounting firm who, at the request of the DeKalb County Commissioners, originally discovered these practices. We publicly commend those DeKalb County Commissioners who approved this audit for their stewardship and attention to the proper use of taxpayer funds.
The aforementioned audit by KPMG documented widespread violations of DeKalb County’s purchasing rules. Companies that were paid millions of dollars either lacked contracts or received more than their contracts stipulated. DeKalb County executive assistant Richard Stogner approved purchase orders and contracts without bids.
As an example, per published reports, EMA Inc., a computer services company, was given 11 orders of $49,000 apiece on one day. That amount was just below the $50,000 threshold for a competitive selection process. In total, almost $3.7 million was paid to this entity. Another company, ISPA Inc., received six purchase orders for over $268,000, all on one day. No contract existed. These orders were approved by county Executive Assistant Richard Stogner.
We are not convinced by the “no ill intent” findings of the recently-completed “investigation” by a “consulting firm” headed by former Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Wayne Hill. We commend the current DeKalb County CEO for at least attempting to have someone outside his Department look at the problem, but disagree that an investigation by “consultants,” led by a fellow County Commission colleague, provides adequate independence. Instead, as recommended above, we urge that the same Accounting Firm who uncovered the original irregularities—KPMG, be retained. As trained, Certified Public Accountants, and with the background and discoveries of their first audit, KPMG should specifically be asked to look for potential wrongdoing, something they were not hired to do during their initial Forensic audit.
It should be noted that in accordance with a holding of the Georgia Supreme Court, we are not charging a public officer with misconduct in office. Rather, this general presentment recommends that a future Grand Jury, pursuant to the authority granted it under the above statutes, conduct an investigation. If that grand jury finds any misconduct, they can either return an indictment or a special presentment charging a county official.
We deem the management, stewardship and judicious use of taxpayer funds by DeKalb County’s elected and appointed officials as amongst the highest entrustment of responsibilities such officials have. With so many needs in the County for both resources and personnel which such funds provide, and having heard cases during our Grand Jury tenure involving the misuse of finances, we consider the proper handling of taxpayer funds by those to whom they are entrusted to be of supreme importance.