“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is how the saying goes. This saying is especially true right now in Clay County. They give contracts to their friends; like Meara Welch Brown and Garry & Associates. They give jobs to their friends; like Matt Thompson and Blake Scott. This County Commission has even created brand new positions for their friends.

In May 2013, Dale McCaslin was hired as the assistant director at the Clay County Airport. The newly created job paid $52,000 per year plus benefits. There was no job description for the job at the time he was hired and when he left the position at the end of 2013, after the situation was made public, the position was not refilled.

Dale McCaslin is the husband of former Clay County Treasurer, Carol McCaslin.

Carol McCaslin has been a long time, very close friend of Pam Mason. They take long lunches together, spend hours in meetings together, shop together, and plan their campaigns together.

McCaslin lost her bid for re-election in 2012 to Republican Ted Graves. Since leaving the Treasurer’s office, she has worked part time for Cathy Rinehart, the Clay County Assessor and in May of 2013, the County Commission hired Dale McCaslin into a newly created position at the Clay County Airport. Now she has filed as a Republican for County Auditor and her husband, and Dale McCaslin has filed as a Democrat.

I am certain that it took quite a bit of pressure from Pam Mason to get the McCaslins to file for County Auditor, but when you owe Pam Mason and Gene Owen so much, it is hard to say no. It is even more difficult to say no when you need a job.

Carol McCaslin, flipped parties to file as a Republican. I have spent a fair amount of time with Carol McCaslin over the past few years and she holds no ideological views that are consistent with the Republican party platform. I don’t know much about Dale McCaslin because politics have never really been his thing. When he has attended a political function, it has only been to support his wife.

The citizens of this county deserve some one in the auditor’s office that will work for them, not be a rubber stamp for the county commission. We need a voice that is able to say no when it is necessary. It is important that the County Auditor be independent and not owe anything to any other elected official. Both of the McCaslins are indebted to the County Commission and the County Assessor.

There is a saying, and I don’t know who it is originally attributed to, but it is said we get the government we deserve, not necessarily the one we want. I really wish I had more time to contribute to letting you know the insanity that often goes on down at the Clay County Courthouse.

I received this note from Sheila Ernzen the other day. She promises to share more in the coming days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

As county auditor, I am furious on behalf of Clay County employees and citizens about the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism of their county government.

I believe that I have as much of an obligation to inform the voters of who is responsible for the dysfunctional state of their county government as I do to compromise and work with other County officials and employees to serve the citizens of this county within the bounds of law. The last week and a half has been a classic example of the lack of professionalism, lack of communication and unwillingness to compromise that currently plagues our county courthouse.

The assistant county counselor, Matt Thompson [editor's note: this is T.K. Thompson's son, and from what I have been told he's a good buddy of my pal "Amorous" Vic Hurlbert], put all county employees in jeopardy of not being paid this Friday due to his behavior. I am not sure if he was following the direction of the Clay County Commission as a whole or a single commissioner. I am certain that he serves at the pleasure of the county commission and his actions reflect on them as a whole.

On Monday of last week, March 9, I was told by the HR director that I would not be given copies of documents that I requested to audit the county’s upcoming payroll. Missouri law allows the county auditor to have access to all books, county records, or papers kept by any county officer. I appealed to the county administrator by email and copied the commission.

On Tuesday, March 10, I was told by Matt Thompson that I could not have copies of the requested documents due to concerns of employee privacy. I responded, in the spirit of compromise, as I should, with other ideas of how I could receive the information I needed to document my approval that the changes in the payroll system were authorized and correct.

I was ignored until Saturday, March 15th, when I again was told no. Again, I offered additional ideas as to how a compromise could be reached so that payroll would not be affected. I was ignored again until Tuesday afternoon, March 18th.

Amazingly, I was ignored even after talking to Matt Thompson face to face before the County Commission meeting on Monday, March 17th. I expressed my concern about meeting the payroll deadlines to ensure County employees would be paid and stated that we needed to find a solution. He assured me that he had not had time to review my email yet (the email sent almost 24 hours earlier), but that he would get with me later that afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I was notified by Mr. Thompson that in the interest of cooperation I would get copies of redacted status change forms from HR, and that if I needed to view the complete form, I could view them in the HR department. I responded by thanking him, told him I would like to try out his solution, and asked that I receive the forms with redacted information as soon as possible so that payroll could be approved to the commission for payment.

I received no response.

This morning (payroll is supposed to be processed before 2:30pm the Wednesday before payday in order for County employees to receive their payroll funds by direct deposit on Friday) my office received no forms. I instructed my office to send HR an email asking about the forms and we received no response.

I called Matt Thompson and asked when I would receive the forms. He had changed his mind about providing the documents with redacted information to me, but he had not told me. I am guessing he would not have told me if I had not called him.

During my phone conversation with Matt Thompson, he seemed angered by the fact that I had sent a copy of the form I was requesting a copy of from the HR department to the Attorney General’s office to ask them if they agreed with the Assistant County Counselor and County Commission that the information was not open to the public under the Missouri Sunshine Law. He also told me I would have to make a Sunshine Request to get copies of the forms, even with redacted information and that he would not provide me the copies to use to audit payroll because he didn’t have to. I was left with the impression that payroll would be processed without my approval.

I called the county and found out that payroll had not been processed yet. As the deadline to submit payroll passed, I received a phone call from one of the other Assistant County Counselors. He worked with me to find a solution that allowed me to get the adequate documentation that I needed to fulfill my duty to the citizens of Clay County and ensure that county employees would be paid on Friday.

Clay County employees and citizens owe a big thank you to Assistant County Counselor Kevin Graham for saving the day after pay day was jeopardized.

I take great pleasure in posting this. I would of paid good money to see Pam Mason and Vic Hurlbert’s response when they found out that Mr. Nolte was going to run in the primary. 

And yes, I’m still out here, just busy focused on other things.

Nolte PhotoFormer Missouri Representative Jerry Nolte announced that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Clay County Presiding Commissioner. A lifelong resident of Clay County, Jerry’s goals are to fight for jobs and economic growth, improve basic services for taxpayers and increase the level of professionalism in county government. According to Nolte, “We must promote a culture of entrepreneurship to create jobs, sharpen our focus on basic services we expect from our county government and demand a high level of professionalism in government, both in its dealings with the people and working together for the citizens of our county.”

He is currently Co-Chairman of the Clay County Economic Development Council Strategic Planning Committee working with Northland leaders to create a strategic economic plan.  “Clay County is going to rapidly develop, the only question is how we will grow,” Nolte observed. “In 2014, we must change direction choosing economic opportunity and job growth, not continue the divisive politics of the past.”

Nolte served eight years in the Missouri House, four as chairman of the International Trade and Job Creation Committee. Additionally, he served on committees dealing with local government, energy, tourism and medical facilities among others. In the Missouri House, Nolte sponsored and passed legislation to lower taxes, reduce needless regulation, bring more fairness to property taxes and ensure money to improve our roads was shared fairly between the county and cities. A 2011 bill he sponsored led to I-70 being designated as part of the Purple Heart Trail in honor of our veterans who fought for our freedoms.

Nolte also passed the Manufacturing Jobs Act which was vital to Ford Motor Company investing $1.1 billion in the Clay County Assembly Plant. “We could not afford to lose one of the largest private employers in our county,” Nolte said. “The legislation ensured a generation of good paying jobs with benefits for thousands of Northland families.” The law also encouraged expansion and job growth for suppliers like Magna Seating, Adrian Steel, Knapheide Manufacturing Company and Caseco Truck Body.

A small business owner since 1978 and former teacher, Jerry has been married to his wife Alicia for 36 years, they have three adult children. He is a member of the Gladstone Rotary Club, Friends of Hospice, Deputy Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus, Vision North 2010-2015, Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas City and has attended St. Charles Catholic Church since 1960.

Nolte’s work in the Missouri Legislature earned him the 2012 Associated Industries of Missouri “AIM for Good Business Award”, 2012 Fair Energy Rate Action Fund’s “Friend of Ratepayers Award”, St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association “Lewis & Clark Statesman Award”,  multiple years Missouri Chamber of Commerce 100% For Jobs Award and Spirit of Enterprise Award.

“I have a record of working with people in the Northland to build consensus, set objectives and achieve those goals for our community,” Nolte said. “A first Class County deserves a first class government we can all be proud of.”

Contact Jerry for more information at jerry@NolteforCommissioner.com, on Facebook and Twitter.