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Trash talk from ex-DOT chair: Audit findings ‘absurd,’ Perdue’s comments “irresponsible”
David Doss of Rome, a member and former chairman of the state Transportation Board, got riled up the other day about the state auditors’ findings of mismanagement at DOT. So he wrote AtlantaUnfiltered to get some things off his chest.
Auditors said DOT spent billions of dollars that it did not have, which Doss (left) labels “absurd.” And he chided Gov. Sonny Perdue for using the term “Enron accounting” to describe DOT’s cash management procedures.
Following is Doss’s complete post:
“In the rush to condemn the Georgia Department of Transportation, fueled by irresponsible comments like “Enron Accounting” from Sonny Perdue, several very critical facts seem to be ignored:
“1) After numerous audits and investigations, NOT 1 PENNY OF MONEY IS UNACCOUNTED FOR AT GDOT.
“2) After numerous audits and investigations, NOT 1 PERSON IS SHOWN TO HAVE GAINED PERSONALLY.
“3) The best indicator for GDOT’s financial condition and money management policy is their bond rating. Surely, if “Enron Accounting” is being used, the bond rating at GDOT must have suffered greatly. Absolutely not! The last GDOT GARVEE bond sale, in which the rating is based upon GDOT’s financial management and condition and not based on the State of Georgia, GDOT received THE HIGHEST BOND RATING THAT GARVEE BONDS CAN RECEIVE.
“4) Auditors claim the biggest reason for the spike in payments to highway contractors was that GDOT was spending money that it did not have. Absurd! If GDOT was spending money that it did not have, then how did the contractors get paid? Surely GDOT must have been sued for not paying their bills? Surely GDOT must be overdrawn at the bank by hundreds of millions of dollars? Wrong on both counts. I would challenge the Auditors to produce one shred of proof that GDOT was either overdrawn at the bank or failed to pay their contractual obligations to any highway contractor.
“5) Lastly, there is something evil or sinister implied because payments to several large highway contractors increased from FY’06 – FY’08. Sonny Perdue’s Fast Forward Program compressed 18 years of road projects into just 6 years. What do the bean counters at the Department of Audits expect to happen? When GDOT accelerates the construction program, OBVIOUSLY payments to contractors are going to increase accordingly. But here is the important thing to remember: EVERY CONTRACT WON BY A HIGHWAY CONTRACTOR WAS WON BY SEALED BID, LOW BID PROCESS. Every contract was won fair and square by the lowest bidder.
“And what about C.W. Matthews? How did they more than double their work for GDOT in only 2 years? Surely there must be something evil and sinister at work here! No, the Auditors failed to mention one small thing that happened during 2006. C.W. Matthews BOUGHT ONE OF THEIR LARGEST COMPETITORS, APAC. At the time, APAC was about the same size company as C.W. Matthews and the APAC contracts became Matthews contracts. It’s like when AT&T bought Bellsouth …. AT&T’s revenues increased overnight!
So Governor, would you please explain “Enron Accounting” to us?