City DopeNews

ACC Auditor: Work Improvement Plan Was Retaliation

ACC Internal Auditor Stephanie Maddox.

Athens-Clarke County Internal Auditor Stephanie Maddox said last week that she has been placed on a work improvement plan as a condition of extending her contract, meaning that she is being asked to improve her productivity in order to stay in her current position.

The ACC Commission voted 9-1 on June 15 to reappoint Maddox to another two-year term, with Commissioner Allison Wright as the lone “no” vote. Yet, it appears her reappointment is subject to two conditions, as Maddox stated in a video posted on the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement’s YouTube channel.

The first condition is that Maddox strive to improve her performance. The last audit her office completed was of the ACC Water Business Office in April 2020. Around that time, she lost both of her employees, and the productivity of her office plummeted, going from an already low level by some accounts to virtually zero. Both positions in Maddox’s office remained unfilled at the time of the last Audit Committee Meeting.

Maddox’s monthly reports to the Audit Committee have been almost identical for over a year. She repeatedly told commissioners on the Audit Committee that two audits, of Fleet Management and Animal Services, were “in the home stretch” and would be completed within weeks. These audits are from her 2018 and 2019 work plans, respectively, and have still not been completed to date, according to Audit Committee Chair Melissa Link.

The second condition Maddox said was added to her contract is an indemnity clause. According to Maddox, the clause means that “if I resign, or if I’m terminated, I can’t collect severance if I decide to sue.”

Maddox said in the announcement video that she feels these conditions were put in place due to the discrimination complaint she filed last year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, implying a form of retaliation.

Also in the video, Maddox asked viewers to support the idea of restructuring the Audit Committee. This idea, designed to improve the performance of the auditor’s office, came out of the 2020 Overview Commission. Before the last Audit Committee meeting, which was on Mar. 10, Mayor Kelly Girtz requested that Audit Committee members give him a recommendation on whether this idea should be examined further.

In a 4-1 vote, Audit Committee members recommended that the Government Operations Committee be tasked with redefining the Audit Committee’s purpose and scope, agreeing with Girtz and Maddox that restructuring should go forward.