CONYERS — Deputy Finance Director William Vaughn will lead the Rockdale County Finance Department as the county begins a search for a new director and launches a transitional audit of the department.
Vaughn succeeds Roselyn Miller, who had been the finance director since 2014. The Citizen has requested information from the county on Miller’s effective end date and whether or not she resigned or was released.
A news release sent out Sept. 17 by Chief of Staff Corey Hambrick made the announcement about Vaughn and stated that Post 1 Commissioner Sherri L. Washington and Post 2 Commissioner Dr. Doreen Williams are calling for the transitional audit and a review of policies and procedures, citing “a lack of confidence in the handling of the county’s finance department.” The commissioners are seeking a thorough review of policies and procedures within the department.
“It is important that we restore the community’s trust in our county government and carry out our fiduciary responsibilities as elected officials,” Washington said.
Miller had been with Rockdale County for 21 years, starting in the Finance Department in 1999. In 2004 she was named deputy director, and in what some citizens felt was a questionable move, was appointed director in July 2014 after the previous director, Mia Wilson, left in December 2013.
Miller was one of the final two candidates for the position, along with then county finance reporting officer Linda Nabors. The controversy arose after the Board of Commissioners changed the job description educational requirements for the position from a four-year degree to an “equable combination” of college degrees and 10 years of financial management experience with five years in a supervisor capacity.
Miller had a two-year associate’s degree, while Nabors had a four-year bachelor’s degree and twice as much work experience.
At that time, residents aired their concerns over Miller’s appointment, including picketing outside of the county’s Assembly Hall during a BOC work session. Several residents expressed respect for Miller and for her work, but held reservations on her ability to run the department based on her education.
Under Miller’s leadership, the Finance Department has continued to receive the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) award, and the county had grown both its budget and holdings, including purchasing Costley Mill Park in 2017.
In 2019, for the first time since 2010, the county budget did not require the use of reserve funds to be balanced, and that feat was repeated with the 2020 budget at the time of its approval. After the BOC approved the property tax rollback rate in August due to stress the COVID-19 pandemic has put on taxpayers, it is expected the county will need to dip into its reserve to balance the budget.
It was learned during an Aug. 28 meeting on the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding the county received that Miller had been placed on probation. At that meeting, the BOC learned that the county should have already submitted paperwork detailing how the $3.9 million the county received was to have been spent, and only had a few days left before a Sept. 1 deadline to do so or risk losing the funds.
Miller is the fourth department director to leave the county in the last three months. In July it was learned that Planning and Zoning Director Kc Krzic, Technology Services Director Al Yelverton, and Technology Services Deputy Director Maurice Ficklin were no longer with the county. Little explanation for their departures was offered by the county. Commission Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. stated the trio “transitioned into roles and responsibilities outside of Rockdale County’s workforce.”