State auditor finds possible violations of Open Records Acts, misuse of dollars in Glenpool

GLENPOOL, Okla. - This little city just south of Tulsa on Highway 75 has grown a lot over the past few years.

It has recently added a new community center and city hall, but it's what Tommy Carner says is going on inside the new buildings, that prompted him to run for Glenpool city council.

"One of the platforms I ran on was transparency," said Carner.

Carner helped gather signatures for a state audit in February of 2012. Two years later, the 75-page audit has been released.

After reading over the audit, he found it, "pretty consistent with what I thought that was going on," said Carner.

Read the entire City of Glenpool audit here http://bit.ly/glenpoolaudit

The document lists concerns about transparency, lack of documentation and concerns over violations of the state's Open Records Act.

The auditor said in March of 2011 a taxpayer submitted a request to the city asking for e-mail messages from city officials. The city came back and said the request would cost almost $40,000 for the city to look up the data, when labor costs and printing were added in.

The auditor cited state law which says, "... In no case shall a fee be charged when the release of records is in the public interest.."

Carner said that was a big concern for him.

"If the government is able to shut out the citizens, then you get what you have in Russia and China. The government does what they want, and nobody can question them," he said.

Then there were the raises the city manager, Ed Tinker, received. Tinker had nine raises in five years, and the auditor says the council approved five of those. As for the other four, the auditor said there wasn't any documentation on why the raises were given.

Over five years Tinker's salary more than doubled. It went up to $143,000.

"There was a lot of eyebrows being raised about the amount of raises, the number of raises and about how much each raise was," said Carner.

The city manager's salary has since been lowered to $121,000.

The audit also found the city could be a little risky, relying on increases in sales tax to fund future bond projects.

It says if revenues don't meet expectations, "...increases in utility rates and/or sales tax-rates, and/or cuts in municipal services, could result."

Which means the citizens of Glenpool could be paying more in utility rates or sales tax to help pay for the bond projects.

Carner is glad these issues have been brought to light.

Now he hopes the district attorney takes action.
 
If there's something you'd like the 2NEWS Investigators to look into, send us an e-mail at investigators@kjrh.com .

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