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Community Group in Joplin Collects Signatures for Audit of City’s Finances

In August 2015, the Missouri State Auditor's Office found several violations which resulted in the lowest rating possible, poor.

It appears that the city of Joplin will be audited for the first time in over eight years.

KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Writing Saturday on his blog, current Joplin School teacher and former candidate for Joplin city council Brian Evans says that a committee collecting signatures to force an audit of Joplin’s finances has been successful.

According to Evans, the committee has collected 2,170 verified signatures, 200 more than is required. Evans is no stranger to Joplin city government. He’s run for Joplin city council multiple times, speaks at city council meetings regularly, and was a vocal critic of the city’s policies during the pandemic.

Last year he lost a seat on the Joplin city council by just 13 votes to Josh Detar. After the results were verified by the Jasper and Newton County Clerk’s office Evans requested a recount.

The recount yielded a wider margin of victory for DeTar. The Jasper County clerk's office announced the recount produced no change, while the clerk’s office in Newton County said the recall widened Detar’s victory by five votes.

If the city of Joplin is audited it will be the first time since August of 2015, in the aftermath of the 2011 tornado when then state auditors Nicole Galloway’s office found widespread issues with Joplin’s accounting practices stemming from developer Wallace-Bajjali to Sunshine law violations and lack of oversight of the city’s vehicle and fuel usage.

Copyright 2023 Four States Public Radio. To see more, visit Four States Public Radio.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.