The Public Service Authority has a shortfall of about $700,000, according to County Attorney John Myers.
Myers told AllOnGeorgia-Camden, which based on the financial information that has been reviewed by auditors and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), it is not clear if this is an exact amount.
“It could be more or less. This is still an open investigation, and all records are exempt from Open Records Laws until the investigation is closed. The numbers are fluid figures, and they are subject to change,” said Myers.
It has been learned that more than 50 boxes of records were discovered in a storage area at the PSA. Those records go back to the inception of the PSA, which was established by the county in 1990. Those records were sent to Macon to the GBI’s forensic auditors for further review.
Former Executive Director William Brunson was indicted and arrested on two counts of theft by taking of government property. According to the formal indictment report, Brunson took over $38,000 to purchase vehicles. Former assistant director, Shawnte’ Jenkins was also fired, along with Brunson, for mishandling money, but no criminal charges were filed on Jenkins. The completion of the forensic audit may change Jenkins’ fate.
The PSA has hired an interim director with 28 years of experience on May 21 for 90-days until a suitable replacement could be found to lead the PSA.
According to documents received from the City of St. Marys, the County, along with the three cities of Kingsland, Woodbine, and St. Marys will be paying down the $700,000 shortfall. According to draft minutes, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOST) were misallocated.
The following is the breakdown of taxpayer dollars that will be used to alleviate the shortfall:
- County Contribution – $222,180
- St Marys – $237,230
- Kingsland – $220,990
- Woodbine – $19,600
All amounts are based on a population formula for each municipality.
AllOnGeorgia-Camden asked St. Marys Mayor, John Morrissey, if the city taxpayers, which has already spent about $482,000 of regular budget payment obligations to the PSA, if further money will be used to pay for additional shortfalls if the investigation reveals more money is needed.
“I don’t know,” said Mayor Morrissey. Forensic audits and IRS issues will have to be resolved before each municipality will make a determination.
The PSA Board of directors include the three Mayors of each city and two County Commissioners. The current Board is Chairman and Mayor of Kingsland, Kenneth Smith; Mayor of St. Marys, John Morrissey; Mayor of Woodbine, Steve Parrot; County Commissioner, Jimmy Starline; and County Commissioner, Chuck Clark.
The PSA was created in Camden County as a “public body corporation” on March 20, 1990. Many leaders have been changed during that time. It is the responsibility of the executive director to request financial audits on a yearly basis and take that to the board of directors for approval. It has been learned that the PSA has not had an audit since the early 2000’s , but the foresnsic investigation is still ongoing.
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