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Audit will end at least one conspiracy theory

Every town has its conspiracy theorists, who sit at the cafe, the bar or in front of their computers and share their innuendoes. Ninety-nine times out of 100 this is about their ignorance, meanness or some 20-year-old perceived slight they are trying to avenge. The exception is the one time they are half-right about something, which, of course, fuels their continued wild speculations. Unfortunately.

You will notice, however, that all their yammering turns off the vast majority of people, because they are capable of cognition. These folks ask really good, straightforward questions, such as, “Can you prove anything you are saying?” And, of course, the conspiracy theorists cannot. End of conversation.

But they can go on fishing expeditions. And that is what is happening with the Fairmont City Council, which this week asked city staff to begin a process to conduct a “forensic audit” of the city’s finances, to be overseen by the state auditor. Council member Ruth Cyphers pushed for the audit, although she was unable to articulate any reason for it, or suggest what timeframe it should cover.

By the way, Fairmont is audited every year. You can go read those audits at City Hall. If you care to perceive facts.

In any case, city staff made the brilliant move of the meeting, welcoming Cyphers’ suggestion. City administrator Mike Humpal says City Hall wants citizens to know that the city’s finances are above board. Even council members highly skeptical of Cyphers’ idea agreed. They know nothing is amiss, but since a sitting council member is suggesting there is, why not end the nonsense?

All of that is well and good, if not a waste of time and money.

When all is said and done, though, do not look for the conspiracy theorists to relent. They will peddle something else, doing all they can to disrupt any possibility that people living here learn to listen to, understand and trust one another.

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