Defuniak Springs City Council Grapples with Audit Concerns and City Manager Selection

In a recent Defuniak Springs City Council meeting, issues regarding the city’s financial audit and the selection process for a new city manager were addressed. The council discussed a draft audit with a qualified opinion due to approximately $307,000 in unsubstantiated revenues and deliberated over the criteria and process for interviewing city manager candidates.

The council first tackled the concerns raised by the draft audit presented by representatives from Warren AET. The audit, which shifted to a qualified opinion, highlighted a substantial discrepancy with about $307,000 in revenues that could not be substantiated. The council members inquired about the potential for further revisions to the audit and the timeline required to finalize it. It was noted during the discussions that the audit had not uncovered any missing or misappropriated funds, which provided some relief amidst the financial uncertainties. To assist with resolving the audit issues, the city had already engaged the services of Carr Riggs and Ingram.

In response to the audit concerns, the council moved to accept the audit report as presented, with the decision contingent on the receipt of a confirming letter from legal counsel.

Following the audit discussion, the council deliberated on the city manager application process, which is of high interest due to the role the city manager plays in overseeing the daily operations of the city. The council debated the merits of filling out grading sheets immediately versus calling a special meeting after the canvassing board on February 26 to discuss the next steps. The discussions also veered into whether the council should establish criteria for scoring and ranking the candidates before or after conducting interviews.


The selection process for the city manager position included a focus on the number of candidates to proceed with for interviews. Council members contemplated limiting the number of candidates to a specific figure to make the interview process more manageable. The debate centered on whether to hold a special meeting on the 26th to delve into the selection process or to postpone it to a later date. Moreover, there was a consensus among some members for conducting in-person interviews, which they believed would provide a better assessment of the candidates’ interest and preparation for the role.

The council also discussed the interview questions, with a proposal to limit the number of questions to five per council member. This suggestion aimed to streamline the interview process while ensuring that each member had the opportunity to evaluate the candidates thoroughly. It was decided to email the meeting details and interview questions to all council members for their input and to keep the 26th as a tentative date for a special meeting.

The debate over the city manager selection process resulted in the council’s decision to adhere to the traditional procedure used in the past. Each council member would provide their recommendation for an interview, as well as an alternate in case their primary recommendation was unavailable. The council agreed that conducting interviews before providing any ranking or scoring of the candidates was the most prudent approach.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Bob Campbell
City Council Officials:
Todd Bierbaum, Josh Sconiers, Amy Heavilin, Henry Ennis, Sr., Anthony Vallee

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