Over Darr’s objections, council to vote on internal audit of sheriff’s office

Sheriff John Darr has said he would not object to an audit of his office as long as it was by an external auditor.
Sheriff John Darr has said he would not object to an audit of his office as long as it was by an external auditor. mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

Columbus Council will vote on Tuesday on whether to authorize the city’s internal auditor to perform a special audit of Sheriff John Darr’s office, its finances and operations.

A resolution authorizing Internal Auditor John Redmond to perform the audit states that he should begin “at the earliest possible time.”

The resolution would authorize Redmond to “perform a special audit of the finances and operations of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. The Internal Auditor is further authorized to engage experts from the external auditor of the Consolidated Government or another entity as needed to complete this special audit. Reports shall be submitted to this Council upon completion of each phase of such special audit.”

At a council meeting in July, Darr agreed to an audit of his office, but he said he would prefer an outside auditor, such as Albright & Fortenberry, which regularly does work for the city.

Last month, after Darr objected publicly to Redmond performing the audit, council voted unanimously to postpone making a decision. Darr specifically mentioned Albright & Fortenberry, a local firm that does work for the city.

At the time, Councilor Mike Baker, a certified public accountant, said he would agree to the delay, but he would ultimately side with Redmond performing the audit, regardless of Darr’s objections.

“Whether you’re talking about government or private business, you don’t get to pick your auditor,” Baker said.

Darr said at the time that his objection to Redmond was based on his lack of knowledge of law enforcement.

“John Redmond knows nothing about the operation of a jail or its manpower needs,” Darr said. “What’s his background in law enforcement? He has none. So I would have a concern about that.”

Council meets Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in their chambers on the second floor of the City Services Center on Macon Road next to the main library.