I have had this since July 13, and I just failed to get it up. 

I’m glad Commissioner Pam Mason has publicly brought up the budget and personnel cuts she made to the Office of the Elected Auditor of Clay County.

As your elected Auditor, I’d like to tell you more about what those cuts mean for the workers in my office and the citizens I serve in Clay County. It should be noted that the only three county departments receiving budget cuts in the last two years were: elected Auditor, elected Sheriff and Parks & Recreation.

First of all and most disturbing, the budget cut to my office was down to the dollar amount of a long time county employee. Ellen is 58 years old. Sadly, not long ago, Ellen lost her husband of 32 years. As too many people know, it is devastating to lose your life partner. But the loss of a job so quickly after? Ellen had to sell her home and move to Utah to live with family.

The dollars used to pay Ellen to audit the Commission went to the Commission’s Assistant County Administrator who received a $16,500 raise in his first month of employment, then yet another raise bringing his salary to more than $94,000.

Commissioner Mason: By your own public admissions on social media and the fancy mail pieces you send, you did this to send a message to me. But instead of hurting me, you hurt a woman who needed this job to make ends meet. Clay County workers aren’t collateral damage. They are hardworking folks who do an honest day’s work to pay their bills, feed their families and hopefully have a little left to enjoy.

When Commissioner Mason’s husband, Vic Hurlbert, was the elected Auditor his office had four full time deputies. My office has been cut twice since Commissioner Mason took office. The office of the elected Auditor is now down to one full time and one part time deputy.

It’s difficult to set aside one’s personal feelings on the job. However, the people of Clay County deserve officeholders performing at their best. It’s too bad Commissioner Mason cannot let go of her vendetta against my office. Her husband, Vic Hurlbert, resigned from the elected office of Clay County Auditor after an investigation by a special prosecutor and was then rejected by the voters to be their State Representative, in spite of spending more than $120,000 of his own money. The people are sick and tired of political infighting and officeholders who govern based on revenge.

Commissioner Mason, you have also publicly admitted to the hiring of an outside company to work on the county financial statements required by Missouri statute to be completed by the County Commission. My office previously produced these statements as a gesture of goodwill and teamwork. Due to the personnel cuts in my office, we were unable to extend this courtesy for 2014.

I’d like to talk a bit more on the subject of outside financial reporting services. Commissioner Mason, your Purchasing staff went out for bid to retain financial reporting services earlier this year. Two companies of sound reputation responded. The due date for the bid was extended anyway. A gentleman named Bruce Culley responded on the last day of this extension, with a bid that undercut the competition. Bruce Culley was selected by your two votes  – because you voted in place of Commissioner Gene Owen, who was absent.

What the voters may not know about Bruce Culley: he was your first recruited candidate to run against me for Auditor. He filed with the Clay County Election Board as a Republican candidate for Auditor. Then his recent criminal record was uncovered. Within a short period of the financial reporting services bid from Clay County, Mr. Culley withdrew as a candidate for Auditor and was then selected by you to receive a contract.

Commissioner Mason, you slashed the budget of the elected Auditor by $50,000 and ended up paying far more through outside contracts for auditing. Once again, Clay County workers and taxpayers are the losers.

I pledge to continue to independently audit the offices and departments of Clay County, as I am bound to do by Missouri statute. This means there will be more political consequences for me, and for my office. But I will not waiver in my commitment to integrity and transparency in government

 

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