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The Granite Shoals City Council might consider firing City Manager Peggy Smith (pictured) during its meeting on Sept. 26. File photos
The Granite Shoals City Council is expected to consider firing City Manager Peggy Smith at its regular meeting on Sept. 26. Mayor Keil Arnone told DailyTrib.com that he added the termination discussion as a last-minute agenda item on Friday due to concerns of alleged mismanagement of the city’s finances over the past year.
In a social media post on Friday afternoon, Arnone said he had no evidence of anything illegal or unethical but would have a statement and timeline of events at the meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Granite Shoals City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. The agenda had not been released by the time of this story’s publication. To meet Open Meetings Act requirements, the city has until 6 p.m. Sept. 22 to post the agenda.
Arnone expressed frustration with the city’s current budgeting process, which revealed that funds had not been reconciled since Smith started running things in June 2022.
“The reality is that (the problems) all go back to reconciliation,” Arnone told DailyTrib.com after a special-called budget meeting held by the city on Thursday, Sept. 21. “Nothing has been reconciled, none of the statements have been posted or recorded, and it’s a major issue.”
In this context, “reconcile” and “reconciliation” refer to the process of comparing transactions and activity to supporting documentation in a given fund to ensure total accuracy of financial transactions. Smith allegedly has not conducted any reconciliations in her time as city manager or interim city manager.
“This is city government. Everything has got to be accurate, everything has to be recorded and posted,” Arnone said. “That’s how we follow our finances to see how much money we have. We need to know how much we are spending and how much we have. That hasn’t been happening.”
The council began to question the accuracy of Smith’s proposed budgets in late August, holding several special meetings to balance its 2023-24 fiscal year budget. Eventually, the council chose to hire an outside budget expert to do the work before the state-mandated Sept. 29 deadline for city budgets passes.
Marty Coursey was brought in as an interim budget consultant on Sept. 5 and began working with staff to sort through the city’s finances. Coursey and city administration effectively conducted a year and a half’s worth of financial fund accounting over the past two and a half weeks, Arnone said.
Arnone took to social media on Friday, addressing the Residents of Granite Shoals Facebook page with this statement:
“As many of you are aware, the city had to hire an interim finance director (budget consultant) to ensure that we had a balanced budget by our deadline. I’ve seen a lot of discussion and misinformation being put out on social media in regards to this. For full transparency, I will be releasing a statement to the public at our September 26th council meeting with a timeline of events and what has occurred. I will be presenting facts as to what has transpired with our city financials. I urge you all to attend our council meeting. If you can not attend in person, we do have the option to zoom in. This is an extremely serious matter, and I believe the residents need to know the truth. There is currently no evidence of anything illegal or unethical but I have major concern with the lack of management of our city finances.”
Smith declined to comment when contacted by DailyTrib.com as she had not seen the agenda item when called.