BAKER — Only two auditors have so far answered the city’s advertisement seeking someone to conduct its audit, which must be completed and submitted to the state legislative auditor by the end of December.
The council in 2013 chose Postlethwaite and Netterville, replacing the Stages auditing firm, which had been the city’s auditor for 50 years.
Postlethwaite and Netterville has not expressed interest in renewing its contract with the city.
Melvin Davis, of Baker, and Valencia McNeely, of Baton Rouge, wrote letters of interest in response to the advertisement, but did not reveal what the fee for their services would be.
The city paid Postlethwaite and Netterville about $62,000 for their audit.
Davis owns a CPA firm that has worked with state and local government organizations, according to his letter of application.
McNeely lists her job as auditor for the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs.
Council member Joyce Burges presented the council a grading system, including such criteria as qualifications and experience of the firm and its personnel, and past performance, for determining which auditor to hire.
Mayor Harold Rideau commended Burges on the grading scale, noting the process “is a lot better than” when the council had chosen Postlethwaite and Netterville — a process Rideau at the July 14 council meeting characterized as “a joke.”
Burges acknowledged that some Baker residents questioned that choice, but said the new grading system will give a better picture of how a particular firm is chosen.
Interviewed after the meeting, Burges said the council decided not to use her grading system when they hired Postlethwaite and Netterville in 2013. She said that was the basis for the residents’ complaints.
She added that Postlethwaite and Netterville’s lack of interest in continuing to work with the city was due to difficulties they had dealing with the mayor, city staff and the council as well as the controversy surrounding the hiring of the firm.
The council on Tuesday set a work session to discuss the merits of the potential auditors for 9 a.m. Friday.
In other business, the council recognized 2015 Baker High graduates Brionna W. Kincaid, Lamiri Cobb and Tamira Winfield, who received city of Baker Excellence in Education Student Recognition Book Scholarships. Kincaid was valedictorian of the Class of 2015 and Cobb and Winfield were in the top five of the class.
The scholarships of less than $200 each will help the students buy college textbooks and comes out of money raised by council members, Burges said.