Temple Officials Say Audit Detailing Waste is Misleading
TEMPLE, Ga. - Our FOX 5 I-team told you how Auditors claimed the city of Temple wasted more than a million tax dollars in recent years. The Temple mayor said the previous administration was to blame. Now, former Temple officials are fighting back, saying if anyone is at fault, it's the current mayor.
Former Police Chief, Tim Shaw, said his predecessor bought $113,674 dollars worth of police gear with seized drug funds, including grenade launchers.
Shaw said: "What the hell does the city of Temple need with SWAT equipment? We don't have a SWAT team."
The audit criticized police for selling the items at a loss. But, Shaw claimed, after the economic downturn, his department needed money, so he sold unused items to spare taxpayers from having to come up with more money.
"I'm tired of being a punch line when you go into the city," Shaw said, "I was trying to save taxpayer's money."
Former Temple council member Larry Mann and current councilman William Simmons claim the current Mayor is the one to blame for much of the financial mess.
Auditors found the city spent more than $600,000 on the purchase and renovation of an old textile building known as the Sewell building. The city then turned around and decided, based on an engineer's recommendations, to tear it down and build a brand new administration building.
Current Mayor Lester Harmon halted the construction saying he didn't want to have to borrow money to finish the project.
Council man William Simmons believe the Mayor made the decision to embarrass the previous administration.
"I don't think he respected value of taxpayer money. Stopping this complex," said Simmons.
Mayor Harmon admits he and the former Mayor have had their disagreements in the past. But, he says the decision was purely financial.