LA Attorney General Defines “Select” for Grambling Attorney
On behalf of the Grambling City Council earlier this year, Grambling City Attorney James H. Colvin Jr. requested an opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General as to what constitutes the mayor’s selection of an auditor according to the law.
Colvin’s request to the AG was made in order to settle a dispute as to whether the Grambling Mayor Martha Andrus made one or two recommendations for an auditor in the January 2010 Council Meeting. This matter was discussed in a previous article by The Fount entitled: “Grambling Attorney Strong Arms Mayor?”
At first Colvin declared during the regular March Council Meeting that according to law, Grambling was without an auditor because the Council did not agree with the Mayor’s original selection.
But after the Grambling Council discussed the matter further with Colvin, even though Mayor Andrus made her preference for Marsha Millican CPA very well known in two separate and previous Council Meetings, six days later Colvin issued a memo stating the following:
“At the January meeting, the Mayor proposed or recommended two applicants and the City Council approved one. At that time, a contract and appointment was made. As the Council approved the appointment in January and approved the terms of the appointment in February, the Mayor is required to execute the terms of engagement letter with Allen, Green & Williamson.”
Did Colvin backtrack in order to appease the Council and guarantee himself more pay?
As stated in another article by The Fount, Andrus had strong objections about Allen, Green & Williamson conducting the 2009 audit, and said that Grambling City Attorney Colvin’s statements implying she selected two auditors in order for the Council to choose the one they wanted was completely unfounded and nothing but a stall tactic.
With the selection of a 2009 auditor for Grambling being at a standstill, Colvin forwarded his question as to what constitutes the selection of an auditor to the Attorney General. The AG responded on July 30, 2010 by providing Grambling Attorney Colvin with a dictionary definition: to “select” means “to choose in preference to another or others; pick out.”
In the AG’s letter to Colvin, the Assistant Attorney General Benjamin A. Huxen II provides one of the shortest and acute AG opinions on record stating “Thus, it is the opinion of this office that the mayor must expressly state a preference among the auditor applicants” and the AG’s office released the following official opinion:
“In order to constitute a selection of an auditor under La. R.S. 33:404(A)(3), the mayor must expressly state a preference among the auditor applicants.”
New Auditor Selected, Books STILL Not Ready
After the Attorney General issued the above opinion, during the regular August Council Meeting the Grambling Mayor and Council agreed on a new auditor by the name of Hulsey, Harwood & Sheridan LLC from Monroe to perform Grambling’s 2009 audit.
However upon the auditor’s inspection of Grambling’s books on September 7, 2010 it was determined after 9 months since 2010 started and with all the legal maneuvering that’s taken place in this matter, Grambling’s City Accountant and Business Manager Willie Mabry still does not have Grambling’s books for 2009 ready for an audit.
As a result, the new auditors have requested the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office for another extension to conduct Grambling’s 2009 audit. In a 9/20/10 letter addressed to The Grambling Council and Citizens of Grambling, Mayor Martha Andrus writes:
“This delay is added to the seven or eight month delay caused by the Council and Attorney Colvin requesting an unnecessary opinion from the Attorney General when he obviously knew the answer already. This is evident becaust it was the same opinion he rendered himself in the February Council Meeting. As you are well aware these delays will cause additional findings in the audit report again this year and I will not take responsibility for these findings. Please understand, a unified effort of all parties involved is necessary to produce a good audit.”
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