Business as usual can’t continue at county

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The ongoing issue with county supervisors, the chancery clerk’s office and the state auditor took another turn at Monday’s board meeting.

District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey, who along with three other supervisors, was issued a demand from the state auditor’s office related to improperly paying an employee. Falvey said he never voted to pay the chancery clerk’s employee, despite the auditor claiming he did.

“The board never voted on it,” he said about improperly paying the employee. “Alright, let me put it this way, I’m speaking for Doug Falvey. I never voted on it. The item never came to the board minutes to be voted on and if it was voted on some other way, I don’t have any idea.”

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Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop was issued a demand for $165,000 for failing to reimburse the county for paying for employee salaries in his office. The supervisors’ demands are for $5,666 each.

Falvey said the board did not vote to pay those salaries but the vote was included in the minutes for the meeting.

“How it got there or anything, I don’t have a clue,” Falvey said.

Board minutes, which are kept by Bishop,  are supposed to accurately reflect the actions taken at board meetings. Supervisors approve the previous meeting’s minutes each time they meet.  But the minutes from supervisors’ meetings have been a problem in the past.

The state auditor’s office cited Bishop for numerous omissions in keeping the minutes, saying bid openings were not adequately documented (some not at all); the approval of the previous meetings’ minutes was not the first order of business; details of debt agreements were not documented; interfund transfers were made without board approval; claims dockets were dated after board approval and some entries were not legible; documents relating to board orders were not included; and at least one personnel change was not documented.

Falvey has also been critical of the way minutes and records are handled.

“We just ignore stuff and then we wonder why the auditor comes down and we say the auditor is picking on us. The auditor is not picking on us, he’s doing his job and we’re not doing ours,” he said.

If Falvey and the state auditor are correct, the board needs to overhaul its procedures to insure the county’s business is handled correctly and according to law. And supervisors would be wise to make sure they know exactly what they are voting on — or not.

The public will quickly lose confidence in elected officials if they think their hard-earned tax dollars aren’t being spent — and watched — carefully.