At their regular August 5 meeting, county commissioners called for an independent audit of the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council on the county’s east end, the governing body for the Franklin County Senior Citizens Center.
“I’ve had a lot of concerns from people,” said Chair Cheryl Sanders, who introduced the discussion. “Sometimes we have to bring things to the front. I feel I would be remiss not to do it.”
She said the county had budgeted for the senior center, with the required 2 percent reduction. “I have had some concerns and complaints from the public that they’re not doing what they told the board they would do for the amount of allocation of money that they have received,” Sanders said.
“I don’t have a bone to pick with anybody. I think in the interest of things, it would be best for us to request an audit of the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council and have it done before October 1 so we can see where the money’s going to. I would like to see the county auditor, Mr. Ralph Roberson and his group do the audit,” she said.
Commissioner William Massey, whose motion to request an independent audit by Roberson and Associates was approved unanimously, suggested money was missing. “There’s a lot of money gone,” he said. “I’d like to have all the receipts for the roof and everything they spend money on. There was $68,000 in there and it’s gone. (
Sanders said “the public is concerned about the forthrightness of the process and any time the public is concerned, we need to have a concern.
“Rather than have a blemish, I’d rather go ahead and just ask them,” she said. “That doesn’t mean they will do it.”
Roberson said Monday that he would act on the county’s request, but had to not yet taken a look at the details of the assignment. He said the cost would depend on the scope of the audit, and that he wanted to make sure “the road’s all paved,” in terms of approvals and directions, between the county and the private Florida non-profit corporation.
Its March 2014 filing with the state shows officers of the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. are Ed Pattillo, as president, Sue Reed as vice president, and Carolyn Spivey as Treasurer. As an eligible non-governmental organization, they are set to receive $17,683 from the county for the next fiscal year, down by 2 percent from $18,043 this year.
“One of the things that I’m concerned about, and I know this for a fact, is that they said they served so many meals a month for the people at x amount of dollars and I know that there was a month or two months, maybe more, when they didn’t serve those meals,” Sanders said.
In a telephone interview, Times columnist Jim Welsh, who regularly attends lunch at the
Welsh said the reason given for cutting back on lunches was reduced attendance. He said average attendance at the luncheon had dropped from several dozen to about 15. He also said the price of lunch at the
“Before we go into a new fiscal year, a budget cycle, I would like for that to be cleared up for the public to know that (the Senior Citizens Council is) doing business like they are supposed to or they are not,” Sanders said. “Then, that will determine what we do.
“I don’t know what this will turn up, but I’m just saying, as a commissioner, given the complaints from the public that I’m getting, I have to do something,” she said.
“I say you are fixing to open a can of worms and somebody’s going fishing,” Massey said. “I want to know where the money is because they are broke.”
In a telephone interview, Pierce said the building permits referred to by Massey were related to a new roof ordered by Pattillo for the Senior Citizens Center, at 201 NW Ave. F in Carrabelle. The estimated value given on the permit was $80,000.
On Sept 26, 2013, Gene Strickland of
But the permit was not signed at the time. Pierce said Strickland presented a letter from Garrison when he requested the permits. The letter, not specific about dates, said Strickland was a subcontractor for Garrison.
On Oct. 10, Pattillo signed an agreement to pay Metal Roofing Sales, LLC of Tallahassee $30,900 as a deposit on materials to build the roof.
Pierce said Planning and Building began receiving complaints about the quality of the work on the roof. The planning office then contacted Garrison and advised them that as contractor, they should inspect the project. A Garrison spokesperson told them Strickland had only subcontracted on a single job for the licensed roofer, and was not acting as a subcontractor on the work at the
On Oct. 17, Pattillo faxed a letter to Zoning Administrator Rachel Ward asking that the stop work order be lifted. The letter named Garrison Design as the primary contractor.
In a letter to Ward dated Oct. 24,
On Oct. 25, Elliott Jenkins, of Jenkins Roofing, and Dustin Lord, of Garrison Design, signed building permits and Jenkins completed work on the roof.