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Wayne County Auditor will probe payroll, contract questions

The Wayne County Commission’s Auditor General willlook into some persistent questions about county contracts and payment practices.

Willie Mayo says the audit will dig into two primary issues. One is how the county’s payroll process works—and whether there are safeguards to prevent some county appointees from getting big payouts.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano recently ended a generous retirement incentive program that had come under scrutiny.

Mayo says the audit will also look into what he calls “questionable” contracts—especially those that went to people with different types of county connections.

“We’re primarily looking to see what the contract requires them to do, and whether or not the contractor or the vendor actually performed in accordance with the provisions of the contract itself," Mayo says.

Mayo says his team won't look into how now-fired Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin got a $200,000 severance payment. The Wayne County Commission and the FBI are already investigating.

Mayo says his office will try not to duplicate those investigations, but there could be some overlap.

“It’s all new to us, in terms of exactly how we’re gonna approach it," Mayo notes.  "A lot of times on, you know, with audit engagements, one thing leads to another.”

Mayo says his office will review about three years worth of contracts, and hope to wrap up the audit within 60 days.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.