Operations of the city government are being closely reviewed by personnel from the Kentucky State Auditor's office after several concerns were voiced regarding ethics and expenditures.
On March 26, the state auditor's office notified London Mayor Troy Rudder and London City Tourism Director Chris Robinson that concerns had been received by their office about the City of London and City of London Tourism Commission. The letter states that preliminary assessments to address those concerns would be conducted, with the option to expand that review.
The letter from Mike Harmon, Auditor of Public Accounts, asks the city to submit specific information from July 1, 2019 through Feb. 28, 2021. That information includes:
• List of current and former city employees, elected officials and commission members with start and end dates of employment or appointment, positions held, disclosure of family members employed by or contracted with the City or serving as an elected official or commission member and the position title.
• Bank statements and check images for all accounts held by the City related to tourism and/or the commission as well as the same information for all accounts held by the tourist commission in that time frame.
• Audit reports or yearly financial statements for the tourism commission or related to the commission.
• Minutes from each commission meeting during that time frame.
• All ordinances related to the establishment and activities of the commission.
But after the audit of the city tourism commission began, the City of London was included in the audit.
A letter dated Aug. 17, 2021 was sent to Rudder and Robinson from the state auditor's office voicing their intent to further examine the City of London's records.
"Based on this preliminary assessment and continuing concerns received by this office, we have determined that the additional examination procedures are warranted. As such, the Auditor of Public Accounts will be conducting a special examination to evaluate certain operations and financial activities of the City and Commission. The time period of this examination will cover July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021, expanding on preliminary review procedures already performed," the letter reads.
The records requested for the expanded review include analyzing "additional financial information" such as bank statements, invoices and other financial information as well as procedural and operational documentation."
"Ultimately we will follow the data and the full scope and extent of procedures will be dependent upon where the data leads," the letter further states.
After the audit is completed the city entities will receive a report outlining any weaknesses in record keeping and/or procedures.
The London City Council has made some steps toward clarifying and itemizing specific concerns within the city government over the past year. An Ethics and Nepotism ordinance was passed, as well as the establishment of an ethics board to deal with employee issues. The Ethics Ordinance outlines the expectations of city employees, while the nepotism ordinance prohibits the hiring of any family member of an elected or appointed city official above a second cousin. That excludes spouses, siblings, parents and grandparents, in-laws, children or grandchildren, nieces, nephews and first cousins from being hired as a city employee. The ordinance does contain a clause that allows current employees to be "grandfathered in" - or remain employed regardless of their relationship to an elected or appointed official or current employee.