COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Near the end of Tuesday’s Columbus Council meeting, councilors voted to hire an Atlanta law firm to assist in an ongoing internal audit of the city’s Finance Department.

The motion to call for the hiring of Troutman Pepper was made by District 7 Councilor Joanne Cogle. It was seconded by District 5 Councilor Charmaine Crabb.

Here was what Cogle said as she made her motion.

“There has been a series of events that have been happening as of late,” Cogle said. “And I think that Council needs to initiate our powers to have an investigative firm to work in conjunction with our internal auditor. So, I would like to make a motion that we hire Troutman and Pepper to work alongside our internal auditor in a previously approved audit with the intention and goal of providing a detailed report of some of the concerns that have surfaced.”

There was no discussion about what the “series of events” were, nor was there any discussion about the “concerns that have surfaced.”

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson called for the vote. It all took about 60 seconds and passed on a 7-0 vote. Cogle, Crabb, Tyson Begly, Toyia Tucker, Glenn Davis, Walker Garrett, and Judy Thomas voted for it.

WRBL reached out to Crabb and Cogle. They responded with the following statement. Crabb said the statement was on the advice of Troutman Pepper Attorney Charles Peeler and city attorneys Clifton Fay and Lucy Sheftall.

That statement reads: “The motion authorized the hiring of attorneys and other experts from the Troutman Pepper law firm to assist the Internal Auditor in the audit of the Finance Department, which was authorized by the council on July 25, 2023.”

Fay tells WRBL the estimated cost of the initial phase of the audit will be about $20,000 dollars. Fay said he could not comment on the specifics of an ongoing audit.

The audit has been underway for about a month and the public timeline for how long this will take.