The city’s independent budget analyst is recommending that Southeastern Economic Development Corp. board members have specialized expertise and receive regular financial training as part of a review prompted by a scathing September audit.

That audit, which followed a investigation revealing a hidden system of bonuses, recommended various changes to SEDC operations. The agency’s board pledged to implement several measures meant to address the audit findings, such as ensuring that the SEDC board approve all salary increases for the agency’s president.

Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin’s report, released today, suggests additional measures, such as requiring board members to have experience in finance, general business, real estate development, law or architecture, as is the case with the Centre City Development Corp. board. Current SEDC board members would be grandfathered in.

In some cases, Tevlin recommends different changes than what’s called for by outside auditors or by the city. For instance, auditors said the city’s chief financial officer should approve of SEDC’s new financial policies before they are finalized. But Tevlin’s report says that since SEDC is considered a separate legal entity, the chief financial officer should only “review and provide input” on the policies but not have the power to approve them.

The report also recommends:

  • The SEDC board’s selection of a president be subject to City Council approval.
  • SEDC should follow the city’s budget process, including information requirements and timelines.
  • The SEDC board should receive regular training covering financial responsibilities and redevelopment-related finances.

You can read Tevlin’s report here, or see her recommendations in handy chart form here. Also posted is a matrix showing the audit recommendations and the response from the city and from SEDC’s board.


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