Baton Rouge firm hired to audit Baker’s books

The Baker City Council decided Tuesday night to end its decades-old business relationship with the Mary Sue Stages auditing firm, of Baker, and awarded the city’s 2013 fiscal year auditing contract to Postlethwaite & Netterville of Baton Rouge.

Councilwoman Joyce Burges, who proposed the motion to select the new auditing firm, said the council chose Postlethwaite & Netterville over at least four other accounting firms, including both the Stages and Melvin L. Davis firms.

“We chose based on their expertise,” Burges said, adding council members ranked the applicants after evaluating the firms individually through a checklist.

“There’s no entitlement to taxpayers’ money,” she said.

Councilman Norman “Pete” Heine, the lone protester to the decision, proposed a substitute motion to rehire Mary Sue Stages, but received no support from any other council members.

“P&N is a big firm and a fine firm,” Heine said, “but they have no connection in terms of being in Baker.”

Heine said Stages’ firm, founded by her father, John Butler, had served as city government’s auditor for 50 years.

Stages provided the council with a bid not to exceed $39,000 for the upcoming fiscal year, while Postlethwaite & Netterville’s bid came in the range of $40,000 to $50,000, Burges said.

Mayor Harold Rideau did not attend the meeting, since he was out of town on family matters, said Ken Fabre, the city’s attorney.