Ridgecrest mayor resigns amid bookkeeping concerns

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RIDGECREST — Soon to be Mayor Dwayne Sikes admits his job may include righting past wrongs, but Sikes won’t elaborate on the details at this point.

“All I know is that we just have a lot of discrepancies in the town funds,” Sikes said.

Sikes, currently a town alderman who serves as mayor pro tem, has sent his letter of resignation from the alderman position to the Secretary of State’s office.

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He was named acting Mayor at a meeting Thursday following the resignation of former Mayor Kevin Graham.

Once Sikes receives a notification from the Secretary of State’s office, Sikes will be sworn in as mayor, until special elections in November 2012.

“I accepted because we’ve got to have a mayor,” Sikes said.

With Ridgecrest under pressure regarding a discrepancy in bookkeeping, Sikes said he’s hoping the charges don’t escalate higher than that.

“We’re hoping it’s just bad bookkeeping and that’s all,” Sikes said.

Silas Simmons, a certified public accounting and consulting firm in Natchez, conducted an annual audit of Ridgecrest’s 2010 budget.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office is reviewing the current audit and said it will become public record on Monday.

In a report on internal control over financial reporting included in a 2009 audit done by Silas Simmons, the company said “a deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent or detect and correct misstatements on a timely basis.”