Forest Park seeks outside auditor

Ken Thompson, left, is sworn in by Mayor Angelyne Butler as Forest Park's finance director in 2018 while his wife holds a Bible. Thompson is one of 3 city leaders vetting possible CPA firms to audit the city's books going forward. RFPs are due June 5.

FOREST PARK —Forest Park has a new money manager.

Ken Thompson, who had been serving as interim finance director, was sworn in at Monday’s council meeting by Mayor Angelyne Butler.

Recently, the city has been tackling financial problems that date back over several administrations. These include Mike Blandenburg’s resignation after a series of questionable financial dealings with city funds during his tenure and a botched bid request for a forensic audit covering 2014 through 2017, as well as questions about using SPLOST funds for non-designated purposes.

A memo from City Manager Angela Redding included in the fiscal year 2019 proposed budget packet included two references to previous allocations of SPLOST funds to non-designated projects.

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According to the memo, “A total of approximately $400,000 has been added to the various departmental budgets to accommodate computer hardware/software expenses previously charged to SPLOST.”

The memo also noted, “$415,000 has been added to replenish the Reserve for Contingencies subsequent to action taken by the council to appropriate those funds to meet specified needs including other charges to the SPLOST fund that were not included in the approved list of projects.”

Butler has said that she wants to post “open checkbook” software on Forest Park’s website to increase transparency about city spending.

A copy of Forest Park’s proposed operating budget is available on the city’s home page at https://www.forestparkga.org/pdf/home/18-19-budget.pdf .

Crime and Safety Reporter

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