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The Missouri State Auditor speaks about upcoming investigation of Joplin City Government

The examination of Joplin’s financial records and management practices won’t get underway until next summer at the earliest and could take as long as a year to complete.

Earlier this week, Joplin Mayor Doug Lawson disclosed that the city would undergo its first state audit in eight years. Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.
The 2015 audit, by then State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office,resulted in a rating of 'poor' in August of 2011 for Joplin’s municipal government. The audit found multiple violations, including that city officials did not ensure the selection process for the master developer Wallace Bajjali was independent and free of bias.
Among numerous findings, Galloway’s audit found that the pre-development agreement was also written to benefit Bajjali and did not adequately protect the city.

Questions about Joplin’s finances have never subsided since the tornado and the Bajjali controversy, with over 2,000 residents signing a petition in favor of another audit.

Current State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said there are big differences between a state audit and the annual financial audits that every municipality receives.

“The main difference is that our audit will be in addition to a financial review, it will be a performance audit," he said. "So we'll look at the city’s compliance with various laws. We’ll look at the efficiency and effectiveness of their management practices”
According to Fitzpatrick, due to the several other audits his office is currently conducting statewide, it could be until the middle of 2024 before the audit is underway.

He said the audit could be complete in the summer of 2025.

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The Missouri State Auditor speaks about upcoming investigation of Joplin City Government

Fred Fletcher-Fierro