BY JENNIFER CABRERA/APRIL 15, 2019
Today’s Gainesville Sun has an interesting article about problems found during an audit of Reichert House, an after-school program for at-risk youth that is headed by GPD Chief Tony Jones. While the audit is concerning, including the finding that “at least 212 transactions for almost $42,000 were made without explanation of how those purchases helped the Reichert House program,” the interesting part is the reaction of interim City Manager Deborah Bowie.
Bowie’s response doesn’t address the discrepancies; instead, she throws City Auditor Carlos Holt, one of six charter officers who are hired by the City Commission, under the bus. While admitting it was “inappropriate” for her to comment on his personal life, she goes on to do exactly that, bringing up an investigation into domestic abuse conducted by GPD. Bowie says that since Holt has been investigated by GPD, he has a conflict of interest and should not have conducted the audit.
Holt says the audit had been on a commission-approved list for almost two years and that “no one told him he had a conflict of interest with GPD and that there was no mention of his personal matters by city officials until almost a week after he completed the Reichert House audit.”
It seems curious that Bowie is more concerned with smearing Holt (who remains in good standing with the city) than in possible fraud at Reichert House.
While Reichert House seems to do worthwhile work, if it is going to operate on public money, it must transparently account for that money. When city officials aren’t interested in where the money is going, that only strengthens the frequent assertion that the commission is more interested in “pet projects” than financial responsibility.