Rocky Mount mayor embarrassed by allegations in audit

Local News

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – Rocky Mount’s mayor said he is embarrassed by the allegations made public in an audit formally released Friday that showed tens of the thousands of dollars being mishandled.

On Thursday, the City of Rocky Mount released a report detailing what it said was the findings of an investigation by the North Carolina State Auditor.

Later Thursday, State Auditor Beth Wood’s office told CBS 17 the City released a report based on a draft issued to Rocky Mount.

“The report is still a confidential draft report…It does not contain our response that takes care of the misleading statements or where they minimized something that should not have been minimized…and now they have released that today – a confidential draft report with their response – without letting us finish the report,” said Wood.

Wood’s office said Rocky Mount’s release was not 100-percent correct.

On Friday, the official audit was released by Wood which details the mishandling of money that includes $47,704 in utility bills not be collected from a city council member.

Read the full audit here

Other key findings by the audit:

  • The City failed to adequately manage funds and programs by failing to collect more than $32,000 in loans and improperly awarding $28,000 to ineligible recipients.
  • The City must pay $31,000 for allowing a development bond to expire.
  • The City Manager violated the City’s travel and reimbursement policy by exceeding allowed per diem by almost $1,600.
  • The City of Rocky Mount failed to designate an American with Disabilities Act Coordinator as required by Federal Law.

In response to the audit, Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson released a statement saying he was embarrassed by the allegations against the City.

“The majority of the City Council have responded that they question the validity of these numbers and do not believe this audit was performed to the highest standards by the N.C. State Auditor,” said Roberson. “Furthermore, they believe that this was a targeted audit aimed at black leadership of our community.”

Roberson also threw his support behind Wood, saying she has “extensive experience and adequate resources to produce a report it has enough confidence in to release publicly.”

Wood has served as state auditor since being elected to the position in 2008.

Roberson said while the $151,000 in question in the audit is a small fraction of money in comparison to the city’s overall budget, “it’s still a lot of money in a poor city where the median household income is only $37,400 and a third of our citizens are living in poverty.”

CBS 17’s Steve Sbraccia working on a full report on the audit for CBS 17 News at 6 p.m.

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