Greenwood city leaders are taking additional steps toward securing its finances, a year after purchasing more insurance to protest against dishonest employees.

At a Monday City Council work session, Finance Director Steffanie Dorn proposed the creation of an audit committee to serve as a check against herself and future workers with access to public funds.

“This is something that I feel strongly about,” Dorn said. “If you participate in it, I think you’ll learn — once you are a part of it — why it’s so important.”

The committee would be comprised of up to three council members and retain an outside financial expert for consultation. Dorn said it was important to avoid having a quorum so meetings can be held privately as sensitive financial matters or the behavior of current and future employees may be discussed.

She said it was not designed to skirt transparency and accountability protocols.

“When you’re going in to discuss potential fraud, it needs to be private until it has to be public,” Dorn said.

Officials said establishing the committee is not in response to any current concerns, but it will act as a safeguard for the future.

Last spring, the council acted on a suggestion by City Manager Charlie Barrineau to increase its insurance policy, which was at $200,000 worth of loss per incident with a $1,000 deductible — to $500,000, a move that increased yearly payments by $409.

Dorn said she values the trust placed in her as the city’s chief financial official.

“I can assure you that trust in me is not misplaced, but I would hate to leave the city and three or four years later read something in the newspaper about the city’s finances knowing that I could have prevented it by setting up this audit committee,” she said.

Councilwoman Niki Hutto said Dorn’s proposal was practical.

“This policy is sound. It makes sense,” she said.

Officials hope to have the committee set up by year’s end, with its members being appointed through the mayor.

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.

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