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City of Fate back audits will become up-to-date at June 21 meeting

By J.J. Smith. The long process of bringing the City of Fate’s back audits up to date will finally be completed at the Fate City Council meeting June 21.

According to Mayor Bill Broderick (pictured), Council members have already reviewed the draft of the 2008 audit provided by City Manager Vicki Mikel and will approve it that night.

The audits were four years behind when Mikel was hired as City Manager in November, 2008, for reasons explained in a separate news article under the headline: “City of Fate leaders explain why audits were four years behind.”

One major reason for the delay was the required 10-month-long Sheriff’s Department investigation which led to the conviction of former Fate Secretary Sandra Lobban for theft of at least $7,000 of public funds.

The theft was discovered when Fate’s accounting clerk Stephanie Fouquette and Mikel discovered Lobban had made numerous personal purchases at Walmart using a City of Fate credit card during 2007 and 2008.

Mikel said the City staff is happy to be done with all the work.

“Staff is more than pleased to have these audits behind us and that energy and efforts can now be focused on the future.” she said.

She also clarified that when former City Secretary Eddie Sturgal was hired to replace Lobban, a background check was performed and it came back clean.

“If subsequently Collin County was investigating him for illegal activities there is no way the City would have known,” she explained.  “Investigations do not show up on back ground checks.”

It turned out that after Sturgal was hired and then let go a few months later, it was then reported that he was convicted of stealing public funds from Lowry Crossing before he came to Fate.

Mayor Broderick said he is very pleased with the work of the City staff and feels like the City now has an exceptional group of people working there.

“When I took over as Mayor, in May 2008, staff was basically non-existent. The City Manager had resigned. The secretary had retired. There was no management and no supervisors. We had no financial manager.”

“Now we have a structured form of municipal government and a City staff with a great deal of experience. They’ve saved us $1.5 million in our master plan.”

Council member Steve “Skip” Skipworth said he is also pleased that the work that has been done and gave credit to City staff.

“We’ve just solved one problem after another until we’ve finally reached this point.” he said. “We now have a very professional staff.”

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