In a desperate move to shore up support among the BOCC, Mecklenburg County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr. has fired the county's internal audit director Cornita Spears who spelled out the latest of accounting irregularities and bad news at the DSS earlier this week.
Read the Observer's coverage here: County Suspends Audit Director
But CP thinks Spears was on to something more than just trouble with the "Giving Tree" program. A quick review of Spears emails post by the Charlotte Observer show the Spears had discovered that DSS clients were given vouchers to be used at Target, Kmart, Marshall's and others and that routinely the stated amount on the vouchers were exceeded, with DSS being charged for the overages. Yet Jones authorized the hiring of Cherry Bekaert in Raleigh to audit the DSS finances.
It is plain as day Jone's needed to throw Spears under the bus, to distract the BOCC and the public and in doing so he also managed to sweep the trouble with the DSS voucher program, credit cards, checks and charity funds back under the rug.
But the trouble with DSS had already be addressed by Cherry Bekaert and Holland CPA's back in May of 2009 and at a cost of more than 90 thousand dollars. A report that the BOCC received and that is plain and simple language spells out the fact that Harry Jones had failed to supervise anyone at DSS for years.
Here is the memo from Harry Jones to the BOCC:
Changes in Internal Audit Management
As I mentioned at the Board meeting earlier this week, the error associated with the Giving Tree audit is unacceptable for this organization. It has damaged the credibility of the Internal Audit Department and Mecklenburg County as an organization.
I have determined that the credibility of the Internal Audit Department cannot be restored with the current management of this department.
Therefore, I have taken the following steps regarding the leadership and management of the Internal Audit Department. Former County Finance Director Harry Weatherly has agreed to serve as Interim Consulting Director of the Internal Audit Department. We will expand our existing services agreement with Mr. Weatherly to serve in this capacity over the next 90 days.
In this role, Mr. Weatherly will provide executive oversight of the Internal Audit Department in a consulting capacity. He will report directly to the county manager regarding all matters pertaining to the County’s Internal Audit Department.
Mr. Weatherly will be supported in this interim role by current Internal Audit Department staff member Chris Waddell. Mr. Waddell will serve as Interim Operations Manager for Internal Audit and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department.
In addition, the Human Resources Department has been instructed to initiate recruitment for a new Internal Audit Department director.
These changes are effective immediately.
Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager
CP thinks that if the County Commissioners are so inattentive that they fall for this clearly bold attempt to deflect blame by Harry Jones to a subordinate, they no longer deserve to retain their elected positions within the community.
The trouble with Mecklenburg County Government is not the audit department or the need to create an "ethics czar" position for Mr. Jones hire another member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
The staggering number of six figure salaries alone should have been a red flag.
The stunning and wide ranging corruption that now seems to cover every aspect of the Mecklenburg County DSS is just the beginning.
No wonder our property tax rates are so high!