Citizens well served by audit, chief petitioner says
February 23, 2005 - To the editor:
Crestwood has already been greatly served by the state audit of city finances.
For months before the audit petition — with the administration busy passing their across-the-board pay raises and "merit pay'' — citizens begged city officials to restrain their rampant spending. Clear to many, certainly the administration, the state audit petition would easily succeed.
In an example of what our treasured Constitution intended, nearly 20 citizens, demanding accountability, carried audit petitions which almost everyone approached — 1,100-plus — immediately signed — by the people, for the people.
Due to the pressure of an impending state audit, the administration began metering out troubling, controversial fiscal information from their forensic audit. Many have contacted the offices of Debra Lewis, state auditor-St. Louis, urging the release of the state's findings.
However, can they really find much more? Did the city administration further waste our money by plowing office ex-penses and legal fees into the cost of the audit claiming they're in conjunction with the state audit, then blaming the inflated cost on others?
Why so much legal coaching about the state audit? Aren't they just supposed to answer the state auditor's questions honestly? Why were expensive lawyers needed simply to tell the truth?
Compare the cost efficiency of the state audit at only $24,000, far less than one day's city revenue, to over $1,000,000 for a stand-alone "police palace'' (station) plan and interest charges — that will never be built. The amount spent on the state audit is a pittance compared to the benefits gained by shedding light on what's been happening with our tax dollars. When concerned citizens hear themselves criticized for signing the audit petition, consider the source of the criticism.
And remember, the Missouri state audit was performed at the request of more than a thousand Crestwood citizens who were, and still are, very worried about our city's fiscal problems.
Editor's note: Mr. Anderson is the chief petitioner for the state audit. During a presentation last summer to the Crestwood Board of Aldermen, Director of Finance Diana Madrid noted that non-residents collected 766 signatures for the state audit — 67.85 percent of the total number collected.