Local Politics

Commissioners vote in favor of countywide audit

Posted July 7, 2008
Updated July 8, 2008

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— The Wake County Commissioners voted in favor Monday evening of a 2.5 year expanded audit for all county-issued credit cards in Solid Waste Management Division. Other county departments would have a 1-year review for county-issued credit cards.

The audit is in response to Craig Wittig's firing from his job as a recycling coordinator for the county's Solid Waste Management Division.

County officials found out he had taken at least 46 taxpayer-funded trips since he was hired in February 2006. The trips included whale-watching off the coast of Maine, four ventures to Disney World and a trip to a Las Vegas hotel.

Including Wittig, seven employees in that division charged $165,165 to credit cards issued by Wake County between April 2006 and last month, according to county records.

Some county commissioners have called for other employees to be fired in the case, but County Manager David Cooke said he is still reviewing the case to determine whether other disciplinary action is warranted.

“There's a personnel process we have to follow. For me to comment on what might be in motion would be inappropriate,” Cooke said.

Meanwhile, Cooke hopes this is an isolated case of what many people consider to be an abuse of the system. He and others want that uncertainty put to rest.

“I think the public deserves to know we're spending their money wisely and if we're not, we need to fix those problems immediately,” Commissioner Tony Gurley said.

Gurley believes that had this information been known prior to last month's approved tax increase, the outcome of that vote might have been different. The new tax rate was set at 53.4 cents per $100 valuation. Last year's tax rate was 67.8 cents per $100 of valuation.

“The tax increase can't be repealed, but we can not spend it. This year's budget was tight. Next year's (budget) will be even tighter,” Gurley added.

The credit card audit is estimated to cost from $125,000 to $150,000.

“I'm committed to looking for permanent savings coming through this audit or other acts so the taxpayer doesn't bare the burden for our mistakes,” Cooke said.

Initial findings from the audit are expected to be presented within 60 days.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • nofear Jul 8, 2008

    my trash pickup cost has been increased. I should not have to pay for trips that I did not go on. audit evryone and bring the cost down.

  • CrewMax Jul 8, 2008

    Somewhere there is a supervisor with three Disneyworld tee shirts
    (that we paid for).

  • Bendal1 Jul 8, 2008

    The N&O is reporting that Wittig's supervisor, the guy who got demoted, is no longer working at the Waste Management department. The article says his last day was July 3.

  • NeverSurrender Jul 8, 2008

    "NeverSurrender- You fail to realize that the CC's have full time jobs of their own and do this job part time. They have no time to micromanage what is the County Manager's job to do. If they do, then we need them to quit their regular jobs and pay them to do the CC job full time."


    If they can't or won't do the job properly which means exercise the required oversight of the county's business and budget in the name of the people, then they shouldn't take the oath and the seat on the council...period point blank.

    They knew full well what the requirements of the job were before they filed their candidacy papers. If they feel the pay is inadequate to the level of effort required, then they can float a raise proposal and see if the citizens are willing to pay for it.

    Otherwise, what would we truly need these people for if they're going to let the county manager do all the work without oversight? All this for an illusory "say" in how this county is managed?

    Sounds dumb to me!

  • wcnc Jul 8, 2008

    You fail to realize that the CC's have full time jobs of their own and do this job part time. They have no time to micromanage what is the County Manager's job to do. If they do, then we need them to quit their regular jobs and pay them to do the CC job full time.

    They have no power to hire or fire- that is the job of the County Manager and department heads. This money issue lies on the Solid Waste Department head as well as on the County Manager, not the CC's.

  • TheAdmiral Jul 8, 2008

    "do work for Wake County and I can assure you that the majority of the county employees are hard-working, honest people who follow proper procedures and do not abuse the system."

    When the procedures call for you to sit on your can and not do anything because that is what is called for - I think I would question the hard working part of that, and I would question the honesty to the taxpayer in who wrote the procedure in the first place.

  • TheAdmiral Jul 8, 2008

    I think the school board should be audited.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jul 8, 2008

    Why stop at the Solid Waste Management Division? Why not do the entire county government? What is the "teeth" behind the audit?

  • lilwil Jul 8, 2008

    The County manager should go as well. I bet he knew more than he is letting on. He probably have done something inappropriate himself. Yes, he's been very cautious, cause those employees along with Wittig may have something on him.

  • NeverSurrender Jul 8, 2008

    "The County Commissioners have NO authority to hire or fire within County departments. That is the job of the department heads and ultimately, the County Manager."


    They do hire the county manager and I'm sure that if the manager is given the choice of taking the suggested actions or being shown the door and having their replacement do the deed, that manager will take the commission's suggestions seriously and act upon them.

    If they're nice about it, they'll merely quietly threaten his budget behind closed doors until he plays ball.

    Bottom line is that the ones that control the money control the universe and generally have their way when their minds are set on a course of action.