COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – At Tuesday’s city council meeting Mayor Skip Henderson addressed a lawsuit against the city, filed by his challenger John Anker.

After nearly two hours in executive session, Mayor Skip Henderson kicked off the city council meeting by addressing the lawsuit, filed by Anker on April 22nd. Anker claims the city stonewalled his open records request regarding a transition audit requested by Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman.

Henderson said, “A mayoral candidate has filed an open records request, and uh has filed a suit subsequently to ask for this audit. It was at that particular point, not even complete. We did not want the citizens of Columbus to accrue any legal expenses, so the auditor went ahead and worked overtime to try and get this thing fixed up so that it could be distributed. Our ordinance indicated that it must be presented to the mayor and council simultaneously.”

Sheriff Countryman requested a transition audit following the decommissioning of the Marshal’s Office in 2021. The results of that audit were made public at the April 16th council meeting.

The transition audit of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office can be found below.

The audit findings reveal potentially unsafe conditions at the Muscogee County Jail, due to deferred maintenance. The audit states, “property conditions may pose risk to employees and inmates.” The audit also revealed the capacity of the jail is being challenged and the Jail Bureau is critically short staffed.

The auditor’s recommendations are as follows; adding administrative roles; increasing technology that would transmit data directly from CPD patrol cars; and that the Sheriff’s Office and City Manager’s Office develop a plan of action to address deferred maintenance in the jail.