By Rhett Wilkinson
MT. PLEASANT—The city’s financial director made some suggestions to fulfill state requirements for “fraud risk assessment” at a council meeting Sept. 8.
Mt. Pleasant Financial Director Dave Oxman recommended three steps for council members to follow that would help them meet Utah’s attempt to prevent fraud in government.
First, the city could draft an ethics sheet for council members to sign; second, each council member could lead in fraud training; and third, the city could formulate a fraud committee. Each act would earn 20 points with the state system, Oxman said.
Councilman Justin Atkinson wanted to know where the council currently stood in the state’s eyes.
“Moderate,” Oxman said. “But we can pick up those 60 other points pretty easily.”
“I think it’s a worthwhile practice to have,” Atkinson said.
Mayor Michael Olsen said council members must “get it done.”
Councilman Sam Draper asked for the pros and cons of the assessment. He said he understood it is trying to prevent fraud in governments. He wondered what would happen to government officials who got negative scores – “A slap on the wrist?” he asked.
Oxman said they would get a personal visit from the state auditor’s office.
Oxman has looked at assessment scores at larger cities.
“We’re scoring just as good,” Oxman said.
Ideas to accumulate points were expressed in a list. Councilman Kevin Stallings said that for one idea, Oxman would have the city’s auditing firm take the call on the hotline. Stallings said that the firm does tell the council members that if they have concerns and things to talk about, to contact the firm.
Draper asked what the fraud risk assessment hotline is.
“I don’t know,” Oxman said.
Oxman said the way he sees the hotline is that it involves an employee reporting another employee.
Stallings asked on what document the hotline would be posted. Oxman said he would get with Recorder Jeanne Tejada about that and send an email.
In other meeting action, Atkinson suggested that the council consider if pickleball courts should be added to Mt. Pleasant City Park.
Olsen said that revenue from the recreation, arts and parks tax, which will be on the city ballot in November, could go towards that.
Some residents of Mt. Pleasant are going to Moroni to play, Atkinson said.
Also in the meeting, Keisel advocated for the city hiring another police officer.
“Public safety is a big thing for me,” Keisel said.
Keisel said he didn’t know if funds for hiring another officer are in the budget, if the council could “budget” it, “or how we go about it.”
“We do need the budget for another police officer,” Olsen said. “We need to look at that seriously for next year.”
Oxman said the city is “really close this year” to having enough funds for an officer.
“[We] have some ideas for how to get us there,” Oxman said.
Getting another officer “needs to be a priority,” Keisel said.
The police told Keisel they “spend so much time in paperwork,” Keisel said.
“Just on a call to go help the ambulance, it takes them 15 minutes of paperwork,” Olsen said.
“They got to cross their t’s and dot their i’s,” Keisel said.
Keisel had said that people called him about “stuff” occurring again after midnight. Drivers of vehicles will go 55 or 60 miles an hour on roads that have a speed limit of a lesser speed and will screech their vehicles’ tires in a church parking lot, Keisel said.
“I think we have got a heck of a good police force,” Keisel said before remarking on “the way this world is going.”
Atkinson said he was sitting on his porch and a four-wheeler came by, with the Sanpete County sheriff in pursuit of the driver of the four-wheeler.
“That was in the middle of the day,” Atkinson said.
In other meeting action, Tejada said the name of the RAP tax on the ballot is Proposition 19. Stallings asked if the percentage of the tax to be on the ballot. Tejada said it would be. Olsen said that information about Prop. 19 would be in half of a city newsletter.
Also in the meeting, the council approved adjustments while saying it will follow up on a leak at Mt. Pleasant Academy.
Councilman Rondy Black was absent from the meeting. He wasn’t feeling well, Tejada said.