|A group of citizens in Miami, Oklahoma are questioning how finances are handled by the city of Miami. On January 17, 2012, they gathered 1,000 signatures, well over the 645 needed by state law to invoke the commencement of an audit by the office of Gary Jones, auditor and inspector of the state of Oklahoma.
Pursuant to 74 O.S. 2001 § 212(L), the audit calls for the an investigation for the period July 1, 2007 to the present (although not limited to that period at the discretion of the auditor). Specifically, they want Jones to:
- Review the grant revenues and expenditures, as well as other revenues and expenditures of the city of Miami and its public trust authorities, regarding the restoration project and operations of the Coleman Theatre.
- Review possible irregularities and noncompliance with regard to FEMA Disaster Assistance Funds received as a result of the 2007 flood disaster.
- Review possible irregularities in city purchasing policies and procedures, including (but not limited to) violations of the Public Competitive Bidding Act regarding a street improvements project funded by passage of a sales tax increase in 2010.
- Review notes payable series 2003 to present owed to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
- Review the City’s “Self-Funded” Retirement Plan.
"During the course of the signature gathering city officials publicly were untruthful about the cost of an audit in an effort to spread panic and dissuade citizens from signing the petition," Mike Romero said in a release to the media. "City employees have openly expressed fear of reprisal by the city for signing the petition," he added, also claiming that the "city no longer allows public comment at its meetings."
Romero wants to commend the citizens of Miami who had the courage to sign the petition, citing the action as an exercise of their state and federal constitutional right to petition the government as well as their right to freedom of speech.
Supporting Romero are Jay Calan and Greg Hiebert.