Hattiesburg seeks auditor's review of potentially illegal decisi - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg seeks auditor's review of potentially illegal decision

Eaton School in Hattiesburg Eaton School in Hattiesburg
Purchase order finalizing payment in July to Finlo Construction Purchase order finalizing payment in July to Finlo Construction

The Hattiesburg City Council is waiting to hear back from the state auditor's office before moving forward on the Eaton School Stabilization project.

The council approved a change order for more than $25,000 in September after a final payment was made to Finlo Construction just two months prior. State law suggests change orders should not be made after a project is finalized if that order is outside the original scope of work.

Ward 3 Councilman Carter Carroll said he asked Mayor Johnny DuPree if that final payment was made before the council voted on the September change order, and Carroll said DuPree told him it was not. Therefore, according to Carroll, the mayor said it was fine to move forward with the change order.

"We went ahead and approved the change order because we needed to get this work done as expeditiously as possible," Carroll said.

Council records show a purchase order to Finlo mid-July, two months prior to that conversation between Carroll and DuPree.

"We made a mistake based on that information (from DuPree)," council president Kim Bradley said.

The council was scheduled to vote on a third change order this week, but the item was tabled on a motion by Carroll in order to give the state auditor's office time to respond to questions from the council.

Carroll said he "can't say at this time" if he was intentionally misled by the mayor on approving the change order after the final payment was recorded. The council did not place a time frame on the tabled item.Their next work session and agenda setting is Monday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m..

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