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Saturday, December 04, 2021
<p dir="ltr"><span>[FILE PHOTO] Andrew Persons, a Gainesville city planner, and Wendy Thomas, the city’s director of the department of doing, present information on gnvRISE affordable housing program at the beginning of a six-hour meeting.</span></p><p><span> </span></p>

[FILE PHOTO] Andrew Persons, a Gainesville city planner, and Wendy Thomas, the city’s director of the department of doing, present information on gnvRISE affordable housing program at the beginning of a six-hour meeting.

 

The Gainesville City Commission voted to accept an audit of the Reichert House youth program Thursday afternoon, despite controversy involving its author.

In October, an internal city investigation found that city auditor Carlos Holt had multiple run-ins with Gainesville Police regarding domestic issues with his family.

In November, Holt started an audit of Reichert House, which is run by Gainesville Police and was co-founded in 1987 by current GPD Chief Tony Jones.

Reichert House works to bring down youth crime rates by offering mentorships and education services.

The audit, released April 12, was the first of two parts and found that the afterschool program was lacking in transparency, standard business processes, procedures for performance metrics, documented purchase transactions and grants from outside sources.

Six days after the audit was submitted to city management, interim City Manager Deborah Bowie reported a potential conflict of interest.

Bowie cited the fact that Holt was conducting an audit of a police-run organization when he was investigated by the police multiple times.

Bowie requested that the city commission accept the audit but have it be reviewed and completed by an outside third party.

The commission accepted Bowie’s recommendation 4-2, with commissioners Adrian Hayes-Santos and Harvey Ward in dissent.

Hayes-Santos and Ward thought the audit should be rejected entirely because of Holt’s conflict of interest with GPD.

Hayes-Santos said he met with Holt on Dec. 13 and told him that moving forward with any audit regarding GPD could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

“It’s disturbing that what you have here is not a true fact,” Hayes-Santos said during the Thursday meeting.

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Commissioner Gigi Simmons voted to accept the report and acknowledged the good Reichert House does for the community but noted there was still room for improvement.

“I want to be very clear. We need to straighten up,” Simmons said at the meeting. “Our community depends on it. We have a lot of great things to offer. We have a lot of great things to continue to do.”

[FILE PHOTO] Andrew Persons, a Gainesville city planner, and Wendy Thomas, the city’s director of the department of doing, present information on gnvRISE affordable housing program at the beginning of a six-hour meeting.

 

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