Hattiesburg council adds position to oversee finances

Hattiesburg council adds position to oversee finances

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council approved a budget amendment Tuesday that would support a part-time position for an assistant to the chief financial officer.

According to council president Kim Bradley, former CFO Connie Everett will return to fill that position, per request of Mayor Johnny DuPree.

"It's really going to help us do a better job of doing business," said Bradley.

Everett, who stepped down in June, will report to CFO Sharon Waits, whose position falls under the mayor's administration. Although Everett has not officially been hired by the mayor, Bradley said she will help oversee finances specific to water collection and court fees- both items mentioned in a qualified opinion in the city's annual audit.

"She understands how the system works," said Bradley. "She understands our city, and she's there to help things be better."

An internal auditor position, which was also suggested in the audit by Nicholson and Company, has been listed on the city's employment website since August. That position has been a point of contention between Bradley and DuPree regarding who the internal auditor will report to when hired.

"It doesn't have my support if it's going to report directly to the mayor because it'd just be more cover up, and we don't need more cover up," said Bradley.

DuPree said the internal position would be his hire and would report to him, which is supported in an opinion from the attorney general.

That opinion states the council does not have the authority "to hire an internal auditor, either as a deputy clerk or as an independent advisor, who reports directly to the city council, unless such employee falls within the parameters of those employees specified in Mississippi Code Annotated Section 21-8-13."

Everett's position as assistant CFO does not have to be approved by the council since they provided the necessary funding, according to Waits.