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Ludowici council questions recent $60,000 payment

Councilman says he doesn’t remember approving work that resident was paid for

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POSTED: November 21, 2011 10:08 a.m.

The Ludowici City Council at its Nov. 15 meeting questioned an amount of approximately $60,000 that was paid to local resident Vanessa Cunningham.

According to Councilman Frank McClelland Jr., Cunningham received approximately $85,000 from the city. Of that amount, the city paid her and the Long County Commission around $25,000 for work involving the recent city election. Cunningham serves as the chairwoman of the board of elections.

Cunningham also received approximately $60,000 to review and remap the city’s five districts and review and rewrite the personnel policy handbook.

Cunningham was paid for those additional services, but McClelland said he did not remember approving the work. He said he only remembers approving that Cunningham bring back an estimate as to what she would charge to do the additional work.

"We’re not making any allegations or anything like that," McClelland said. "We’re just trying to find out what happened.

"There is no question about the $25,000 for the election. But the other money — we’re just researching the matter because I believe there may have been some miscommunication with everyone about what was approved by the council."

Cunningham said the city council approved the additional work. She also provided a copy of the Coastal Courier, which reported the council’s approval of the additional work in the minutes from the October meeting.

"The city council asked me to do the redistricting and the personnel policy, and they approved it last month," Cunningham said.

"I have a contract signed by the mayor and also a copy of the minutes from the meeting, showing where I was approved to do the work. There is nothing to be in question as far as I’m concerned."

As of Friday, the matter had not been resolved.

In other business, the council:

• Tabled until the January meeting a request from Ludowici Police Department Chief Richard Robertson, who asked the council to approve a SPLOST-funded purchase by the Long County Commission for a vehicle for the department.

• Approved looking into locating another certified public accountant to provide the audits for the city.

• Approved researching the cost to provide a drop box at city hall for accepting payments.

• Approved the following days off for city employees: Nov. 23-25 for Thanksgiving.

• Approved advertising to hire a new water superintendent.

 

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