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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Milton's Money Being Handled By Private Firm

Treasurer job for new city is vacant

By DOUG NURSE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, March 16, 2009

For 18 months, Milton has left vacant its treasurer position, possibly violating the city charter and leaving a void in the fiscal checks and balances.

Absent a chief financial officer, the city’s books are being kept by an employee of CH2M Hill-OMI, a private firm hired to provide most day-to-day services and support services with oversight by the city manager.

Everything suggests the city’s finances are the on up and up, but all acknowledge it’s not an ideal situation.“Ultimately, you don’t want one person completely in charge of the finances,” Councilwoman Karen Thurman said.

The treasurer job has been vacant largely because the city manager position has turned over three times since 2007.

The City Council last month appointed Chris Lagerbloom, the former public safety director, as city manager.

Milton, like Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, hired CH2M Hill to provide almost all municipal services. Only a few top administrative positions and public safety employees work for the city.
When Sandy Springs incorporated Dec. 1, 2005, the city treasurer was an employee of CH2M Hill. City officials quickly saw there could be a problem and changed the arrangement.
“The chief financial officer should be a watchdog,” Sandy Springs City Councilman Rusty Paul said. “We wanted a direct line to the city manager and the City Council.”

Milton Finance Manager Stacey Inglis said she hasn’t had any issues arise that she felt like she couldn’t report.

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