Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest blog: City Auditor Jim Stith

The following blog is City Auditor Jim Stith's response to allegations made in the comments box under his 10/15/09 candidate blog. The purpose of our candidate blog series is to give each participant an opportunity to get his or her message out to voters who read our blog. The 10 Republican and 3 Democratic candidates who participated this year knew that they were submitting themselves to a certain amount of criticism from commenters who support their opposition. However, some comments have gone far beyond acceptable criticism and into the realm of distortion, baseless innuendo, character assassination, and outright negative campaigning. Today, these kinds of comments will cease as will any further negative comments about the subjects Mr. Stith covers in his blog. As he states, our readers may contact him with any questions about his office. In other words, there have more than enough anonymous allegations made here about Mr. Stith that we are giving him the last word on them:

10/20/09 CLARIFICATION: After getting some critiques of our statements above, especially, “In other words, there have been more than enough anonymous allegations here, and we are giving Mr. Stith the last word on them,” we realize we failed to be clear about something. We should have added that the anonymous commenters making the allegations need to provide us with documentation (public documents, video clips, training contract, invoices and the like) that supports their charges before we will allow further discussion. Regular readers know we routinely post public documents about various local issues in order to provide credible information. Without supporting documentation, we see no way for discussion about the allegations to advance beyond the level of an unproductive food fight that will not enlighten our readers with information on which they can rely.

One of our critics asked why we did not require Mr. Stith to provide documentation to support his responses below. We saw no reason to, in part, because the anonymous commenters making the allegations did not provide documentation but also because Mr. Stith’s guest blog creates a public record of sorts that can be challenged here if his anonymous critics want to send their evidence for our review to

We apologize to our readers for our lack of clarity.

Many subjects concerning the Auditor’s office have been raised on this blog. Most of them are half truths, others are either misinformation or intentional falsehoods. I would like to address a few of these.

Auditors Payroll: Pay rates are established by ordinance passed by City Council and signed by the Mayor as are all raises in pay. The Auditor’s office does not establish pay rates and cannot reduce any amount established by ordinance.

Stadium Utilities: The Auditor’s office pays the bills based upon purchase orders approved by department heads. Any agreements with contractors, vendors, or the school district are established by the administration.

Fact finding and Unions: The Auditor’s office never provided information comparing Norwood pay rates to other city’s pay rates. If the fact finding report states that I provided this information then it is incorrect. I have never researched or provided this data. The commenter “Auditor Screwed the other Unions” is providing misleading and false information, and I question their motives in this discussion.

$12,000.00 for Training: This is not true.

Donnie Jones: When I first took office Donnie provided assistance and advice to get started. While he has always been available for advice he is not involved in running the office. We have only rarely been in contact in the past 18 months.

Time Bank Issues: The overpayment to the Fire Chief that has been discussed happened before I was sworn into office and has been researched back to 2000. The time banks were balanced after other attempts to resolve the matter failed. This action was discussed with the Law Department and the Auditor of State before being undertaken. I also requested that the Auditor of State investigate this subject and the action taken during the 2008 audit which is underway.

What was originally intended to be a public venue for delivering information on candidates has degraded into a perfect opportunity for any political opposition to spread misinformation without providing a legal disclaimer. Many of the statements made on this blog are either accidental misinterpretations of information or intentional attempts to slander my office and the record of my accomplishments.

As always I am available to discuss issues and I will be happy to answer any questions concerning my office or candidacy via my personal email At the request of the person asking the question I will post the responses on this blog without their contact information.

Jim Stith