On Dec. 13, State Auditor Nicole Galloway accepted 1,800 signatures of registered voters petitioning for a performance audit of the City of Raytown. Chief petitioner, Tony Jacob, presented the petition signature forms to Galloway in person at Brush Creek Community Center in Kansas City.
“You all have worked very hard to collect signatures to compel an audit of the City of Raytown. And I know that Tony has done exceptional work in collecting those signatures. It really takes a lot of your personal time to do this and it is not an easy task to go up to people in your community and explain to them why you care, why they should care and ask them to sign the petition to compel an audit by my office. And so it is a big day when people have the opportunity to collect signatures and I am glad to do this in person and hear directly about why you care and what your concerns are,” said Galloway.
Jacob hopes the audit findings will help the City identify areas of improvement and restore the public’s trust in their city government.
“Nicole Galloway, you’ve done great work. I’ve seen the audits that your office has done and I just hope we can do some of the efficiencies that other cities have done,” Jacob said.
Under Missouri Law, a required amount of qualified voters can petition the State Auditor’s Office. The number is a percentage based on the total voters who voted in the most recent governor’s election. In Raytown, about 1,300 signatures were required. Qualifications include residency and valid voter registration. The signatures had to be submitted within a year after the initial request was made to the auditor’s office by the chief petitioner.
Jacob started knocking on doors in August and supporters soon joined the petition drive to get voters on board. The majority of the signatures were collected at the polls during the November 6 election.
The petitions will be sent to the Jackson County Election Board to verify voter registrations and residency. After the signatures are approved, the performance audit work will begin when staff are available. Auditors, city staff and officials cannot make public comments about the audit while it is in process.
State Auditor’s Office staff will conduct a public meeting with the City’s governing body to explain the audit process and field questions. Auditors will enter the fieldwork phase gathering records and collecting information that will be analyzed. Their findings will be drafted in a report presented in a closed meeting with the governing body for discussion. The City will have 30 days to respond and its responses will be included in the final audit report that will be released to the public.
The scope of the audit will cover the current period and most recently completed fiscal year when the audit is scheduled. Concerns from the chief petitioner and citizens will also influence the scope of the audit that can be revised by the State Auditor’s Office.
The City of Raytown is responsible for the cost of the audit and will receive an estimate based on historical data of audits similar in size and scope. The actual costs are based on tracked staff work hours and expenses that may vary from the original estimate. State law requires payment of the actual cost even if it exceeds the estimate.
The State Auditor has subpoena powers if an entity refuses to provide documents and will inform the proper authorities immediately if it uncovers ongoing criminal activity or fraud. In less serious cases, a recommendation to the proper authorities to correct the situation will be noted in the audit report. Galloway stated that she has never had to enforce her subpoena powers.
The State Auditor’s Office confirmed that a performance audit of the City of Raytown’s police department was completed in 1984. Raytown mayor Mike McDonough, and Raytown Police Chief and City Marshall, Jim Lynch, were employed by the Raytown police department during that time. Both were hired in 1975. McDonough retired in 2014.