Hattiesburg City Council and mayor disagree on auditor chain of command

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The mayor and council president for Hattiesburg agree that a new job opening is in store for the Administration Department of the City of Hattiesburg, what they can't agree on is who the new employee should answer to.

According to the Hattiesburg City Council, an internal auditor would benefit the city administration, but Kim Bradley said the employee should report to the council, not the mayor.

According to Mayor Johnny DuPree, that is not in the statue.

"When you look at the statute, the statute actually says that the city clerk is the auditor. Under the auditor is the finance department. They take care of the audits, they take care of the bookkeeping, accounting and purchasing," said DuPree.

Bradley believes otherwise.

"But in corporate America, the internal auditor answers to the board of directors," said Bradley.

The mayor said if any red flags came about during future internal audits, the internal auditor would report those to the mayor, and they would disseminate any concerns to the city council. Dupree also said that everything would be open to the council.

"We'll be as transparent as we need to be," said DuPree. "We're looking to see practices are in place, policies are in place, and they're being used--they're being followed."

Bradley recently sent a letter requesting Attorney General Jim Hood's opinion. In the letter, Bradley said he understands that the council is charged with overseeing the city's finances and financial health, and thus the integrity of its accounting and financial processes.

The attorney general has not responded to the letter.