BOC wants audit of Jonesboro Housing Authority

Group accused of poor work, misuse of funds

— The Clayton County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday night to spend up to $9,500 to perform an audit of the Jonesboro Housing Authority.

The Atlanta-based accounting firm, PJC Group, LLC, will audit the way the group spent an unspecified amount of a Community Development Block Grant on a rehabilitation project at apartments located behind the historic Clayton County Courthouse, in Jonesboro.

Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said the decision to audit the Jonesboro Housing Authority comes after years of complaints about the group.

“There is so much history there with perceived and real problems,” said Bell. “I’ve had many citizens complain that the service was inadequate, very poor at the least, and that’s been happening for the last several years. I think this is an opportunity to maximize the service of that agency after we take a good audit to determine our direction.”

County documents paint an unseemly picture of the Jonesboro Housing Authority, with officials accusing the group of poor renovation work on 13 apartments.

A county legislative request form from county HUD Administrator Mickie Williams outlines some of the history behind the move to seek an audit of the Jonesboro Housing Authority. The request form was provided to commissioners as part of a packet of information included with the resolution to approve the audit.

“The monitoring findings raised questions about the use of funds per the number of units rehabilitated,” Williams wrote in the request form. “A recent inspection revealed deficiencies and building code violations. Further disbursement of funds has been withheld to ensure that outstanding issues are resolved.

“Jonesboro Housing Authority subsequently sent a complaint letter to HUD in protest of our decision to withhold disbursement of funds. The recommended action was an outside audit.”

News that the county was hiring an accounting firm to audit the Jonesboro Housing Authority came as a surprise to Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day, though. “They haven’t consulted me about it but what else is new,” she said.

A letter from PJC officials explains the accounting firm, as part of its audit, will review subrecipient agreements; the Jonesboro Housing Authority’s block grant administration procedures; the authority’s contracts with architectural, engineering and construction firms; a contract between the county and W. Frank Newton Consulting Inc., and reports submitted to the county’s finance department by W. Frank Newton Consulting Inc.

The firm also will be tasked with determining whether the Jonesboro Housing Authority’s spent block grant funds in a manner that complied with federal regulations.

The firm also will recommend ways the county can recoup any misspent funds, if any methods are available, and make recommendations on how the county can improve control of the rehabilitation project.