Taro Knight was resolute.
“Uniting the (town) council in the three months I have left is my priority,” Tarboro’s mayor pro tem said Friday afternoon as he discussed the release of a report of more than 30 pages of expenditures generated by certified fraud examiner Ray Jackson.
Jackson, who compiled the list after examining five years of travel and expense reports of former town manager Sam Noble, described them as “questionable.”
Meeting in a 50-minute closed session a week ago, council members voted 6-2 to refer Jackson’s report to the office of North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood for further review
In a statement on town letterhead, Knight wrote that the town council “acknowledges that the services of a Certified Fraud Examiner were retained to review and investigate questionable expenditures made by former Town Manager, Sam Noble.
“The Town Council of the Town of Tarboro acknowledges a decision to seek the advice and assistance of the Office of the State Auditor in this matter.
“The Town Council of the Town of Tarboro maintains the position that neither the Town nor any of its officials or employees has accused Mr. Noble at this time of misappropriation of funds or other wrongdoing.”
Knight said the decision to forward the report to the state auditor allowed the council to place the issue “in the hands of a non-partisan body.”
He said, “We’re going to let this process lead where it leads. To not do anything when you have questions about something, we just couldn’t do that.”
By forwarding the report to the state auditor, Knight said the council is now free to concentrate on the Town or Tarboro … taking care of the business of the community and working to bring jobs and make it a better place.”
It also allows the council to work to unite and heal wounds created by the leak of the information, which broke a council agreement, although it was not prohibited by state law.”
“We now have to unite,” Knight said. “We don’t want to be like Princeville, but we certainly have division. We have to come together from this point forward and reestablish the integrity of the closed session.
“A the end of the day, our No. 1 goal is to do all we can for the betterment of the entire community.”