Warnock paid $9.5 million since 2005

Madison County Engineer Rudy Warnock has been paid nearly $9.5 million since 2005, an analysis of engineering fees shows.

Overall, fees paid to the county engineer have increased more than 615 percent since Warnock was appointed four years ago.

Some members of the Board of Supervisors insist the fees are justified and are directly related to the scope of new road and bridge projects and based on a percentage of project costs.

But depending on the number of change orders, re-design requests or various fee assessments, payment for a particular project can far exceed percentages stipulated in a contract, others say.

Repeated calls to Warnock’s office and his cellular telephone have gone unreturned for weeks, although while vacationing out of state last week he said through an attorney he wanted to comment on this story.

Supervisors have also questioned Warnock’s practice of subcontracting projects.

Warnock & Associates billed the county $1.37 million or nearly 10 percent of the cost on the three phases of Calhoun Station Parkway where more than $300,000 in environmental studies were subcontracted.

Madison County has paid the following to Warnock & Associates over the last five fiscal years, records show:

• 2005: $508,780

• 2006: $1,394,026

• 2007: $2,956,121

• 2008: $3,132,426

• 2009: $1,469,454 (as of May 31)

Warnock replaced Mike McKenzie of Williford, Gearhart and Knight in January of 2005.

County records show that McKenzie was paid a total of $221,567 during the 2004 fiscal year when he was county engineer.

By comparison, other counties of comparable size or growth such as Desoto, Rankin and Lee have paid county engineers less.

In 2008, Rankin paid $996,913; Desoto, $648,308 and Lee, $359,625.

In 2007, Rankin paid $1,275,947; Desoto, $939,985 and Lee, $620,078

In 2005 and 2006 during Phase I of the Calhoun Station Parkway project, Warnock charged the county $0.35 a mile for vehicle mileage. He also levied a $100 a day “vehicle usage charge” sometimes billing the county for as many as 25 days in a given month.

Over a nine month period he billed $19,400 in “vehicle usage charges” for Phase I of Calhoun Station Parkway. The county also paid $2,700 in mileage reimbursements over this period.

Warnock’s firm also charged $150,000 for environmental engineering fees for Calhoun Station Parkway Phase II and $176,800 for Calhoun Station Parkway Phase III.

Both of the environmental engineering reports were subcontracted to another firm.

So far, Warnock & Associates billed the county $1.37 million for this project.

Madison County Journal
6/11/9