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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lee County Manager promises answers but still no word on audit

Promising you answers but giving you silence. Lee county's top dog still not saying a word about an investigation she ordered of the county's troubled transportation department. The county manager calling for an audit after Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason exposed allegations of mismanagement.

Karen Hawes
It has been 16 days since county manager Karen Hawes ordered the County Clerk to do an independent audit into Lee County's Department of Transportation. Problem is that we are getting the run around now on how that audit is coming along. On June 27th county manager Karen Hawes sent Fox 4 an e-mail stating: "The scope of the audit will be defined, hopefully by Thursday. At that time I will forward a copy of the scope to you."

So on Thursday Four in your Corner tried contacting Hawes but we were told to speak with Patty DiPiero in the County's Utilities and Compliance Program. Dipper said, "Karen spoke with Charlie Green, the Clerk of Courts, about the audit and he should be aware of the scope. At this point, it may be best to speak with Mr. Green. But when we called Charlie Green he had nothing to say. So on Friday we contacted Karen Hawes again.

We then received an automated email stating 'she will be out of the office until July 6th." That's when Fox 4 again called DiPiero who said Karen Hawes is the only one who can give us information on the audit but Hawes is still on vacation until tomorrow."
Dipiero suggested we then contact assistant county manager Holly Schwartz so we left Schwartz a message. We then went straight to Schwartz's office for answers but were told she wasn't there. Since Schwartz was nowhere around we decided to meet with DiPiero at her office to try to find some answers. DiPiero's secretary told us DiPiero was refusing to meet with us because she had already spoken with us on the phone.
Brian Bigelow
Four in your Corner contacted Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow today. He says he spoke with Clerk of Courts Charlie Green and Green admitted he has already determined the scope of the audit but is refusing to release details until Karen Hawes returns from her vacation. We'll stay on top of this and let you know what happens.
To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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