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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • State auditor to answer public's concerns; Town Hall meeting set for 2 p.m. Wednesday

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  • State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones and members of his staff will be in Ardmore Wednesday to conduct a town hall meeting concerning his office's analysis of issues and questions regarding the Ardmore Development Authority. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in the Santa Fe Depot. The meeting will include an opportunity for citizen comments.
    Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn said Jones' office contacted him last week regarding the public meeting.
    "He (Jones) will answer questions raised by citizens and make recommendations," Spohn said.
    The city manager said Jones has requested both city commissioners and ADA board members be present. A special commission meeting has been called to allow "all the commissioners who are available to attend."
    ADA Interim President and CEO Brian Carter confirmed a similar special board meeting has been scheduled.
    "It creates the legal allowance for quorums of both bodies to be present," Carter said.
    Jones and members of his staff visited Ardmore April 25, conducting two private meetings, one with city officials, the other with the ADA. In addition, Jones had a town hall meeting to allow citizens to voice concerns and/or raise questions.
    Opening the public meeting Jones said, "We want to let you address those concerns to know what the issues are."
    The state auditor and inspector said meetings like the ones he and his staff had in Ardmore were a common fact finding practice. Jones promised at the time of the April meeting that he would review the information and compile a report which he would deliver Wednesday. The report is expected to reveal whether a state audit is necessary or issues can be resolved by other means.
    Both Spohn and Carter said they were pleased with the results of the initial meetings with Jones and his staff.
    "Honestly, after hearing the issues of the citizen's group, I think these can be handled by giving them the information they need and answering any questions they have," Spohn said. "Personally, I think the citizen's group that came to me said they wanted to speak with the state auditor and Thursday's venue provided them that opportunity. It also let the City and the ADA know in detail what the issues were and work has begun to address them."
    Carter said his office immediately began gathering information.
    "While we await the auditor's guidance and report, we are beginning to construct detailed answers to the issues," Carter said. "We will add to these answers once we see the report to clarify the issues. We will be able to answer every issue very straightforward with facts and figures and tell a very thorough story."
    Spohn said he expects the outcome of Wednesday's town hall meeting will be a joint "plan of action."
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