Proposed inquiry into Palm Beach County road program inspires debate among commissioners

By JENNIFER SORENTRUE

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County’s internal auditing committee should conduct the review of a county road-paving program, not the county’s self-appointed financial watchdog, commissioners said this morning.

Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock’s office initiated a review of the program this month at the request of Commissioner Shelley Vana and a resident who wants a road paved west of Lake Worth.

But commissioners agreed this morning that the duty should fall on the county’s internal auditing committee.

“If somebody thinks something illegal has been done, it doesn’t belong in the clerk’s office,” Commissioner Karen Marcus said. “I think we are getting way off track. She can audit her departments. We need to do our own homework.”

The decision was the latest debate in the ongoing rivalry between Bock and county administrators.

This month, County Administrator Bob Weisman directed his staff not to cooperate with Bock’s review of the road program. County employees will fulfill public records requests on the issue, but that is all the help they will give unless the county commission or audit committee directs them to work with Bock’s staff, Weisman said.

It is unclear whether Bock’s office will continue with the review in light of the commission’s decision. A call for comment was not immediately returned.

The county’s internal auditor and audit committee, which includes a representative from the clerk’s office, had already been planning to review the road program before Vana and the resident made their requests.

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