Covington task force seeks to improve financial dept. operations - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Covington task force seeks to restore public trust

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) -

The City of Covington is looking to gain back the trust of its residents.

A newly-formed task force met for the first time Wednesday after former Finance Director Bob Due was arrested for allegedly embezzling $600,000 of the city's money.

The task force is made up of seven members, which includes some within the city and some that aren't. The group discussed changes that need to be made to the way the finance department operates.

One member in particular is Linda Chapman, who serves as Florence's finance director. The city was involved with a similar case of embezzlement a few years ago.

"I think all aspects are well represented on this task force," Covington City Manager Larry Klein told FOX19.

Some of the changes discussed were what to do with the current software within the finance department. Klein stated they recently paid for a new system, and they're working to upgrade security and other features moving forward.

"We already had financial software acquired and in the process of implementation and that would have allowed us greater control going forward in the future, and hopefully would have prevented something like this," Klein explained.

Another job for the task force is to come up with an updated job description for a new finance director. It was also discussed to hire an assistant finance director, something the city hasn't had in a while.

"Once we're educated then we can get into it and make some assessments and some recommendations," said former judge Douglas Stephens, a chairman for the task force.

The Covington Citizens for Ethical and Transparent Government met in August to discuss bringing the state auditor to oversee the City of Covington. Charlene Dietz was at the meeting, and she and many others hope this task force is the answer moving forward.

"It doesn't matter how many policies and procedures you put in place. It's not going to be effective unless they follow those policies and procedures," Dietz told FOX19.

The task force also discussed how the city will be undergoing three different audits over the next month. Officials say this is a process that needs to be efficient, but also move as quickly as possible.

The task force is set to meet regularly over the next several weeks with its next meeting set for either the 16th or the 23rd of September.

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