Mayor Winnecke, State Board of Accounts react to release of audit exit interview

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke released this statement Monday in reaction to Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley's release of an audio recording of the state audit exit interview.

"I find the secret recording of the City of Evansville's Exit Conference with the State Board of Accounts by the City Council Vice President to be irresponsible and a clear violation of trust.

Furthermore, the inappropriate release of confidential state information is a breach of the state audit process, tramples the public's confidence and puts the reputation of our great city at stake.

It is incumbent upon all of us as stewards of our city government to understand fully our finance and audit process before arriving at conclusions that are clearly false.

In the case of Councilwoman Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, she is not following the rules and is placing political gain ahead of the best interests of our city.

State Examiner Paul Joyce encouraged the Winnecke Administration to allow the audit process, as prescribed by state law, to continue on its normal path.

As a result, we are prohibited from offering comments on specific allegations made today until the State of Indiana completes its work. However, the citizens of Evansville should know that city finances are being handled appropriately, and that the statements made by Councilwoman Brinkerhoff-Riley were blatantly wrong, misleading and reckless.

I have every confidence that the state's audit will show our administration has consistently balanced the books, and, with the City Council's help, we have maintained excellent bond ratings.

Our community is becoming the envy of the state for our positive progress and vision for growth. It's a shame that one council member wishes to disparage Evansville through her political campaign website and misleading sound recording.

We're proud of our record and look forward to the release of the state's full audit."

14 News also spoke today with State Examiner, Paul Joyce.

Joyce said, "To us, (the exit interview) is a confidential meeting."

In his opinion, the release of the content is illegal, and that's why he asked ISP to investigate.

Joyce says if ISP does not find that a crime has been committed, there will be no more exit conferences, which will eliminate the opportunity for the city to reconcile or fix the issues that were initially found in the audit.

Joyce confirmed statements from the Mayor's office that an exit conference is not the final audit document.

He says that the audio recording Brinkerhoff-Riley released of the March 12 meeting is not the report that will be released next week and that there were "many inaccuracies" in that recording.

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