The Madison County Journal continues its coverage of the $9.5 million in engineering fees paid to Rudy Warnock by the county, including a response from Warnock.

Text of Rudy Warnock’s response

Over the last few days I have been accused of receiving monies on contracts in Madison County for work that I did not perform. Those allegations are totally unsubstantiated and politically motivated by Supervisor D.I. Smith. The fact is Warnock & Associates has a staff of trained professionals that have worked diligently on every aspect of every project that we have ever been assigned by a client. Speaking specifically about Calhoun Station my staff and I have spent 2,741.75 hours of time over the last several years to complete the project. That time accounts for environmental engineering, design engineering and construction engineering. Every hour of that time has been submitted monthly for review and approval by the Madison County Board of Supervisors. D.I. Smith has some notion that I do not have a staff and that we strictly subcontract all of our work to other engineers, which is absolutely false and he knows it. As with every business we have professional experts that we rely on to assist us from time to time, which is allowed by every contract and is an acceptable business practice. If D.I. Smith had a problem with any of my invoices or contracts since he has been elected why has he voted Aye for each and every one of them. I enjoy serving as the County Engineer; however I do not enjoy the political attacks from the likes of D.I. Smith.

On another note relating to the headlines that I earned $9.5 Million since 2005, one has to consider the amount of work that Madison County has charged me with. Just in the last few years we have built Gluckstadt 5 lane, Parkplace Boulevard, Reunion Parkway, Calhoun Station Parkway, Stribling Road Extension, Old Canton Road Bridge, Gluckstadt 3 lane and are currently preparing to let contracts on Reunion interchange, Reunion Parkway Phase III, Calhoun Station Parkway Phase II and III, and we have performed maintenance overlay projects on over 200 miles of roads in Madison County. Those projects total over $100 million dollars in infrastructure improvements in Madison County. All of the money that has been paid to Warnock & Associates has been paid through professional service contracts approved by the Board of supervisors and signed by the Board President. I would also like to point out that the contracts awarded to Warnock & Associates were generated by the Madison County Board Attorney, and not an attorney for Warnock & Associates. After all of the criticism and politically motivated allegation by Supervisor D.I. Smith I challenge him to rise above the petty politics that he has been drawn into by other political figures in Madison County and focus on the real needs of our County.

Clerk to review all engineering fees

The Chancery Clerk will formally review the expenditure of nearly $9.5 million in engineers fees over the last five years after the Board of Supervisors on Monday rejected a call for an audit.

Chancery Clerk Arthur Johnston says he will perform a formal review of engineering contracts and produce a comparative analysis of fees paid to County Engineer Rudy Warnock.

Citing provisions in the state law that call for chancery clerks to audit the actions of county officials, Johnston said he felt enough questions have been raised to warrant the review.

“I’m going to undertake a thorough review of those contracts and invoices and let the facts show what the facts show,” Johnston said. “I’m not an engineer, but I am the county auditor and I have an obligation to myself and the people to show the facts.”

Johnston said they plan to analyze all contracts between Warnock and the county on a project-by-project basis.

The amount Warnock earned on each project will be determined and compared to the amounts stipulated in each contract. Those results will be detailed and presented to the board.

Johnston did say another aspect of his study, however, would be to provide supervisors with a analysis comparing what other county’s are paying their county engineers.

He also hopes to review the structure of the contracts and policies involving subcontracting.

“What I intend to do is request all information pertaining to consultants and subcontractors that Mr. Warnock has utilized,” Johnston said, adding that there are specific provisions in some of Warnock’s contracts that allow for subcontracting.

Johnson calls fee scrutiny a ‘witch hunt’

Several members of the Board of Supervisors adamantly defended County Engineer Rudy Warnock and the payment of nearly $9.5 million to him over the last five years during a meeting on Monday at which another supervisor called for an audit.

One of the supervisors went so far as to accuse District 3’s D.I. Smith of being on a “witch hunt” when he called for the formal audit.

“I’m sick and tired of this,” District 2 Supervisor Tim Johnson said loudly during a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors. “Supervisor Smith is on a mission, only I don’t know whose mission it is. I’m not going to support him or this witch hunt.”

Johnson was at one point warned by the board’s attorney and other supervisors to calm down.

Editorial – Why the fit over engineering fees?

Chancery Clerk Arthur Johnston has done the right thing by announcing he will formally review nearly $9.5 million in engineering fees paid to the county engineer over the last five years.

District 3 Supervisor D.I. Smith on Monday called for a formal audit, but the vote, not surprisingly, failed 3-2.

Johnson’s reaction is inexplicable – unless of course he’s guilty of something.

Supervisors have fiduciary responsibility to be accountable with spending and at the very least should welcome the review.

Madison County Journal