Mayor wants city money handlers to take polygraph

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants all city employees who handle money to take a polygraph test as a condition of employment.
“It’s going to be required as a condition of employment as soon as we can get it worked out,” Flaggs said after Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. “We don’t have an internal audit system. The taxpayers need to know we’re not losing their money.”
The polygraph recommendation came as the board discussed hiring Donna M. Ingram, a certified public accountant, to perform an audit of the court services department.
Flaggs on Jan. 20 appointed a committee of Municipal Judge Toni Terrett, court services director Janice Carter, city attorney Nancy Thomas, accounting department employee Anna Booth, city clerk Walter Osborne, city accounting director Doug Whittington, human resources director Walterine Langford and assistant IT director Pamela Newton to examine court services operations in the wake of allegations of mishandled funds.
He would not discuss details of the claims, but said the committee would audit the department and develop recommendations to improve its operations and accountability.
The court services department processes cases for the city’s Municipal Court and collects fines for traffic and misdemeanor offenses.
He said Monday Ingram will also “make some recommendations how we can provide a better accountability to the funds down there (at court services).”
Flaggs told the board Monday he asked Thomas to research developing a policy requiring employees to take a polygraph test as a condition of employment.
“Any and all persons handling money will be subject to a polygraph examination,” he said. He said Thomas was working with human resources director Walterine Langford to develop a policy. Thomas said Langford has talked to officials with the city of Moss Point, which has a polygraph policy.
“It’s like a drug test,” Flaggs said. “You do a random polygraph. I think that banks require it some.”
He said he expected the polygraph policy to be one of the recommendations from the court services committee.
Thomas said no date has been set for the committee to present its report, pending the completion of Ingram’s audit.

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About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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