In at least two Independent Budget Analyst Reports dating back to mid-2006, city staffers had expressed concerns that the city's redevelopment agencies adopt standards to more clearly state what their budgets contained, as well as to make clearer how those budgets were changed after they were approved for the agencies by the City Council.

IBA reports 06-25 and 06-31 both cited the reorganization need at the redevelopment agencies for "Standardization of all budgets for similar content information and format" and "Detailed justification for budget changes and requests".

According to, the Independent Budget Analyst's office started noticing discrepancies in the pay and bonuses at one redevelopment agency in 2007, when city leaders angrily noted that city employees in general were under a pay freeze.

Earlier this summer, Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) president Carolyn Smith was given 90 days to clear her office over allegations that she approved substantial off-budget pay bonuses for herself and other SEDC staffers, claiming it was a well-established established practice for SEDC presidents to approve and pay out such bonuses despite the absence of justifying bylaws or policy guidelines.

As part of her public defense so far, Ms. Smith has given at least one interview in which she claimed the bonus practices "predated" her tenure as president of SEDC. Several former SEDC presidents have all denied being paid bonuses, and in an attempt to further distance themselves from Ms. Smith, it is rumored that at least one of the former SEDC heads is entering a monastery.

Our Next Scavenger Hunt: Can anyone actually find a copy of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation's bylaws? Don't bother looking for such fundamental information on the web site...


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