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Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb ethics officer, chief auditor question CEO response to audit

DeKalb County’s lead auditor and ethics officer have accused CEO Michael Thurmond of using flimsy arguments to justify why he won’t implement recommended changes to the county’s purchasing policies.

Ethics officer Stacey Kalberman and John Greene, chief of the Office of Independent Internal Audit, raised these issues after Thurmond submitted a 14-page response to The Hartman Firm’s audit of the county’s purchasing policies. Their rebuttal to his rebuttal was included in the final report dated Jan. 31.

He agreed with 15 of the audit’s 27 recommendations. In taking issue with the remaining 12, the CEO disagreed with two findings and said seven were not feasible.

Thurmond cited pending litigation as the reason behind not embracing three others, which Kalberman and Greene took issue with.

“The Ethics Office is disappointed that the CEO’s response diverts attention from this important issue by misstating the nature and extent of unrelated litigation against the Board of Ethics,” they wrote. 

Thurmond says he is committed to making fixes when and how he deems fit and has already made many improvements. Those include better training for purchasing department staff, reducing turnover and increasing the budget to hire additional compliance officers.

DeKalb commissioners also have been pressing Thurmond to move more quickly to implement the audit recommendations and overhaul the county’s purchasing policies. Thurmond counters that it’s his purview to set purchasing policy, not the commission’s.

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