published Friday, October 1st, 2010

City audit committee to discuss Crutchfield


by Cliff Hightower

Department of Education, Arts and Culture Administrator Missy Crutchfield said Thursday she would answer any questions a City Council committee might have when it meets next week.

“I haven’t been invited, I don’t know if they want me there, but I’m available to be there,” she said.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

The audit committee is made up of local certified public accountants. Those on the board include:

* Charles Millsaps, chairman — Charles Millsaps CPA

* David DiStefano — G.R. Rush & Co.

* Jennifer Goodman — Joseph Decosimo & Co.

* David Queen — Queen Financial Services Corp.

* Henry Hoss — Hoss & Company PC

Source: Audit Committee

The committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss whether Crutchfield and department spokeswoman Melissa Turner violated any laws or ethics rules by creating the online publication Be Magazine and working on it during their regular city hours.

The council forwarded the matter to the Audit Committee after a Chattanooga Times Free Press investigation showed the pair had used city time to work on the for-profit magazine as well as city resources to promote it.

Crutchfield has maintained she never profited from the venture and only used it to market city events.

She said Thursday she “just wants to move on” from the controversy.

Councilwoman Carol Berz, who acts as the committee’s council liaison, said the panel will probably review the city and state codes for employee conduct, as well as the city’s employee handbook. Based upon what they find, the investigation could be expanded, she said.

Charles Millsaps, a local certified public accountant and chairman of the Audit Committee, said Thursday he did not know what will happen when the body meets next week. He said the committee has no investigative powers but could either request an in-house audit or an outside audit.

“The council wanted us to look at it and see what they wanted us to do,” he said.

The committee has authority over both City Auditor Stan Sewell and City Council Auditor Randy Burns, who would conduct the in-house audit.

Sewell said he thinks there will be two meetings, one next week for preliminary discussion and one the following week to review any findings the committee might uncover.

Burns said he may do some preliminary legwork before next week’s meeting. He said he wanted to look at the situation objectively, but he already sees some problems.

“The most troubling thing was [Be Magazine] was chartered as a nonprofit,” he said.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said the administration welcomes the scrutiny.

“This is a good direction that it’s going to the audit committee, and it will answer any questions remaining,” he said.

Contact Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CliffHightower.

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Sorceress said...

It's totally irrelevant that she claims she did not earn a profit from BE Magazine. Clearly, she set up this private company and magazine simply to enhance the illusion that her job with the city is more vital than it actually is and to bypass stated laws regarding private companies providing services to government.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20... "On Saturday, Crutchfield and Turner posted a message on their site saying they had "come under scrutiny" for using a "powerful communications tool to enhance our marketing and communications for our day jobs."

http://media.timesfreepress.com/docs/2010/07/2010_2011_budget.pdf The EAC according to City documents has an average annual operating budget of over $2 million dollars, and nothing in those documents indicates the EAC budget may not be used for marketing and promotion of the EAC. So her claim that it was necessary to set up an independent company "used as a marketing tool for the department", because she has such a tiny or non-existent budget is ludicrous.

State law would have prevented a company owned by a city employee from even bidding for yet alone providing marketing services to the city.

Now she is trying to play the "I'm being bullied because I am a woman card" which is even more ludicrous http://www.wdef.com/news/arts_culture_administrator_says_controversial_llc_not_intended_to_make_money/09/2010 MISSY CRUTCHFIELD "You know, I have experienced some bullying for a lot of reasons. ..The last name..whatever reason..I'm a woman, I have a good salary..I have a good job and I'm very proud of what I do..I work very hard for this...but this part of a political administration. There's always a little whirlwind with that."

She's being criticized simply because she lacks sound and wise judgment.

Has everyone forgotten about this? http://www.wrcbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13248574 In 2006 the city faced a lawsuit, because of Crutchfield's work. She contracted InsideServices to create a website onstagechattanooga.com on behalf of the city without permission. The project was well over $30,000. The city never paid InsideServices because city council didn't sign off on it. So, InsideServices sued the city, and later Crutchfield, to get their money. The lawsuit is still pending.

So, she used her position to mislead a private company into thinking it was doing work approved by the city, when in fact it was merely her own pet-project.

She clearly has a pattern of unwise decisions, a lack of sound judgment and using her position in an unethical, deceitful and inappropriate manner.

October 1, 2010 at 11:28 a.m.
elvisd said...

My taxes pay For Missy O'Shea

October 1, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.

Just a little observation of the obvious but often forgotten while we are following the bread crumbs / money /audit trail:

Is the DiStefano on the audit committee any relation to the Dr. DiStefano that was a regular advertiser in the On the Move magazine Missy was in charge of while at Chattanooga State?

Another of the auditors, Jennifer Goodman, works for Decosimo & Co., which also was an advertiser in the Chattanooga State's On the Move magazine.

I'm certain all of these CPAs are fine people but if they or the firms they work for have a tie to Crutchfield, be it a donation or support to her or any project she worked on past or present; or supported her Ward's, Kinsey's, or Littlefield's campaigns; then they should recuse themselves from the audit committee to remove even the slightest hint of bias, possible conflict of interest, lack of impartiality or having a predetermined agenda.

This is why a a truly independent audit by third party with zero ties to city officials is needed to ensure no one has a friendship with Crutchfield, or bias in favor of her or against her on the audit committee no matter how remote the 6 degrees of separation.

Maybe the TFP can do a bit more investigating to follow that bread crumb trail regarding the audit committee.

October 1, 2010 at 12:09 p.m.
Allison12 said...

It is like the taxpayers fighting themselves trying to obtain justice and abate public corruption, and that is what is this, corruption! When the "dots are connected," the City of Chattanooga utilizes taxpayer resources to mount a campaign of protection for this train wreck of a manager of EAC. Be Magazine was advertised in City publications, and the webiste, never a day is that OK.

October 1, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
JasonMcG said...
October 1, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
harrystatel said...

If you listened to the interview this morning at 7 am on WGOW (interview is not the correct word as that implies a two-way conversation, not a soliloquy), you heard Ms. Crutchfield rattle and ramble at the speed of light.

Never one to answer a question without a scripted response of the same blather you've always heard, it was necessary for both Jeff Styles and Kevin West to interrupt her diatribe to ask pointed questions.

Not that Missy answered the pointed questions. But her ramblings did seem to indicate someone either conniving or wanting to appear on the Cross as a misunderstood messiah.

At any time I expected Missy to cry out like Paul on the road to Damascus, "Taxpayers, why do thou persecute me?"

Listening to he Queen BE deliver the same spiel for the 100th time, it's getting long in the tooth and slightly sad as the curtain drops.

http://wp.me/p10KwY-kB

Harry Statel

October 1, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.
djdistefano said...

I want to thank the BrainofBrainerd for calling the similarity in last names to public attention. I can only say that I have been assured by all of my relatives that Dr. Deborah DiStefano is no relation to me. I have not undertaken a comprehensive review of geneological records, but all evidence I have, including our disagreement on the pronounciation, point to no relation. I take no offence at the question as the name is unusual in the area and many friends and co-workers have asked the question over the years. David J. DiStefano,CPA, member, City of Chattanooga Audit Committee

October 5, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.
FM_33 said...

Somebody told me that Missy Crutchfield was a porno actress at one time is that true ?

October 8, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.
FM_33 said...

http://wp.missycrutchfielddoingporno/p10KwY-kB

Harry Statel Username: harrystatel | On: October 1, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.


Harry you should be shame of your self !

October 8, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.
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