urged by alderman
A Dearborn alderman, citing concerns over
the town's financial situation, says he wants the state
auditor to do a thorough inspection of the city's books,
employment contracts and entire financial situation.
Alderman Bill Edwards is circulating a
petition among Dearborn residents that would force a
state audit. He needs 25% of the town's 355 registered
voters to sign the petition to force the action, and
as of Tuesday he says he already has 86 of the 89 signatures
He will eventually turn his petition into
the state, and the petition will go through a verification
process to ensure the signatures are of registered Dearborn
Edwards, who is one of four members that
comprise the town's board of aldermen, says he is most
concerned over the amount of money being spent on employee
labor for the small town in northern Platte County.
Specifically, he takes issue with the
employment contract of public works employee K.C. Davidson,
who is guaranteed to be paid for 50 hours of work per
week, with 10 hours at an overtime rate.
Edwards doesn't believe it's necessary
for the city to be guaranteeing overtime hours. In total,
the citys public workers (two full time, one part-time)
are getting paid for 96 hours per week.
"A town this size doesn't have the
work to justify it," he told The Landmark on Tuesday.
He said he had discussions with the state
auditor's office before deciding to pursue the petition
to bring about the audit.
Dearborn Mayor Delba McAuley and three
aldermenDonald Swanstone, Jr., Robert L. Carroll,
and Lila Scrivenerrecently distributed a letter
to Dearborn residents opposing Edwards' idea of a state
"We are not concerned about an audit.
We are concerned about the cost that will be incurred
by the city for a state audit," the letter said.
Edward says the state auditor's office
informs him the cost of the audit will be no less than
$4,000 and no more than $8,000. He says he is not concerned
about the cost because in his view, with the recommended
changes that a state audit will bring, the city will
be able to recover the cost of the audit in three to
four months time.
After the audit is done, Edwards says
the state will give recommendations to the city.
"The state will report back to the
city and make recommendations, both written and verbal,
to the town council," he said.
The audit, he said, will address the 96-hour
a week workload for the city's outside employees, which
Edwards says is considerably more than needed because
the city has closed its water plant.
Dearborn discontinued operation of its
own water plant when a connection to Kansas City water
was completed several months ago.
McAuley says the 10 hours of overtime
per week guaranteed to K.C. Davidson is needed to cover
the time he spends on weekends "to manually fill
the water tower.
McAuley says she has had discussions with
the Missouri Municipal League and with the city attorney
in regard to the guaranteed overtime contract.
"They've told me if the work load
mandated overtime, it was legal," she said.
"I don't think a state audit would
find anything wrong. Maybe some inadvertent errors.
. .but do I think they would find any discrepancies
in our finances? No," the mayor said.
She said if there is anything wrong, "it
wasn't done willfully.
In the letter to Dearborn residents signed
by McAuley, Scrivener, Swanstone and Carroll, they indicate
that the state audit would be a waste of funds because
the city is audited "on a yearly basis by a private
firm, Karlin and Unger, certified public accountants.
Edwards, however, says the annual city
audit is a simpler process and not as detailed as the
one the state will do.
The topic of controlling labor costs is
not an issue brand new to the City of Dearborn. Former
Mayor Marvin Landes gave it as the reason for his resignation
Landes resigned as mayor when he says
he saw a lack of support from the board of aldermen
in controlling city finances, specifically money being
spent on its public works employees.
Landes wanted overtime to have proper
authorization and not be guaranteed.
Edwards was not on the board at that time.
He was recently elected as a write-in candidate.
Edwards' push for a state audit was scheduled to come
up at a meeting Monday night, but that meeting had to
be postponed when the board could not muster a quorum.
Three of the four aldermen must be present
for Dearborn's board to hold a meeting. Alderman Donald
Swanstone, Jr. was reported to be hospitalized and Alderman
Lila Scrivener was out of town Monday, leaving the board
short of a quorum.
McAuley on Tuesday said city officials
have tentatively set a new meeting time for next Monday,
June 21 at 7 p.m. She explained that time is still considered
"tentative" because "from the best I
can see it takes a mayor and two aldermen to call a
McAuley and Carroll have agreed on the
Monday, June 21 date but as of Tuesday were still waiting
for at least one more alderman to confirm the plan.
Edwards said he anticipates the meeting
will be held Monday, June 21, and indicated that he
will have more information to be discussed.