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County accepts highest bid for auditing services

On the recommendation of its finance director, the Grady County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday morning rejected lower bids and accepted the highest bid for county auditing services.
Current county auditors, the Tifton-based accounting firm of Bowen Phillips LLC bid $120,000 for the three year auditing contract. Other bids received were $119,050 from Hudson & NeSmith of Sylvester and $105,000 from Perry L. Henry, CPA of Bainbridge.
Finance Director Mary Mayer, in a memo written to commissioners, recommended accepting the bid of Bowen Phillips LLC.
Mrs. Mayer noted all of the bids were $10,000 less than the previous audit contract. Although Bowen Phillips is bidding higher, according to Mrs. Mayer the 2010 budget came in under budget by $6,350.
The county finance director noted that Hudson & NeSmith had only bid for 260 hours of work on the audit, while Bowen Phillips bid on an average of 500 hours and Perry Henry at 530 hours.
“As you can see in Mary’s memo she is very pleased with Tom (Carmichael) and his group (Bowen Phillips). They have been able to come in under budget and they bill us only for the hours it takes to complete the work up to the bid amount,” County Administrator Rusty Moye said Tuesday.
Auditor Carmichael, who was present at this week’s commission meeting, requested to be recognized and thanked commissioners for allowing him and his firm to serve as the county’s auditors for the last six years.
“Our commitment to this board is to be accessible. We will be here when you need us,” Carmichael said.
The auditor praised the work and efforts of the county finance director in being able to reduce the number of billable hours for the preparation of the audit.
Commissioner T.D. David, who is the accountant for Ira Higdon Grocery Company, noted that one section of the finance director’s memo was questionable.
Finance Director Mayer wrote, “When a government is working well with an audit firm it is not recommended to change unless there is a problem with the firm.”
Commissioner David commented, “Sometimes the reason to keep someone is actually a reason to have doubt about keeping them. If you’ve been here six, eight or ten years you don’t want Mary to become too familiar with you. That can create a problem. I’m not saying that is the case here, but I should point that out.”
Carmichael mentioned that his firm routinely undergoes peer reviews and that they rotate their staff on governmental audits.
After discussing the matter, David made a motion to accept the high bid and Commissioner Billy Poitevint seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

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