Wellston residents hear details of audit done by State Auditor

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WELLSTON, MO (KPLR) – Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released Wednesday the details of an audit of the City of Wellston.

Residents requested the audit through a petition process that required 437 signatures.

The audit found numerous weaknesses in many areas, including accounting, financial monitoring, budget disbursements, and sunshine law compliance.

For example, the audit discovered that the city doesn't respond to Sunshine Requests in a timely manner, which in at least two separate cases, cost the city a total of $38,300.

Records also show the city doesn't monitor or restrict fuel usage. Galloway said the mayor fuels his personal vehicles at St. Louis County's gas pumps and bills the gas to the city.

"In one year, he purchased nearly 1600 gallons of gas costing taxpayers $2800," said State Auditor Nicole Galloway. "This averages out to an estimated 31,000 miles driven in a city that expands about one square mile."

While Mayor Nathaniel Griffin did not deny that he's fueling up his personal vehicles with taxpayer's money, he said it's an unfair assessment.

"I fill up the public works, code enforcement and inspector all on one key and that's not being stated," Griffin said.

The report also found that financial records are incomplete and inaccurate which made it difficult for council members to adequately monitor the city's finances and for auditors to determine the true extent of the city's financial problems.

The city received an overall poor performance rating, which means the State Auditor will return in 6 months for a follow up review.

An audit of the Wellston municipal court was released last September.  A follow up report on the court audit is underway.