School system auditor departs after position diminshed by budget cuts

Gary Babst held the position 22 months until his contract expired July 1. He left because the position was reduced from director level, he said Wednesday. "It was just the result of downsizing the budget."

The position was important enough for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to mention last year while threatening DeKalb's accreditation. SACS couldn't see how reports were supposed to flow from the internal auditor to the school board, and told DeKalb to "establish a clear line of authority with the internal auditor."

"There was confusion in the school system as to who the internal auditor reported to," SACS spokeswoman Jennifer Oliver said Wednesday. She said the agency hadn't assessed the recent change, but said SACS didn't require a specific job title nor person for it.

The internal auditor reviews the finances of all DeKalb schools. Babst discovered problems such as missing money at Cedar Grove Middle School, said school system spokesman Walter Woods. The principal resigned and the bookkeeper retired after $66,370.80 was discovered missing from various accounts in late 2010. The case was sent to the local prosecutor and is under review.

Babst's salary was around $112,000 a year. DeKalb is advertising the new position, "senior compliance auditor," with pay from $80,000 to nearly $107,000.

Woods said DeKalb will hire "a fully independent internal auditor ... who can conduct audits across the system."

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