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Dixon-led county commission quickly approves state audit

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The Greene County Commission, led by newly elected Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon, yesterday voted unanimously to allow Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office to examine alleged misuse of public funds.

Greene County spokeswoman Donna Barton said the exact date of the audit has not been set, though the commission asked Galloway’s office to time the examination so it doesn’t interfere with a regularly scheduled yearly audit by certified public accounting firm KPM CPAs. The KPM audit generally starts in the spring, Barton said.

In a statement, Galloway applauded the decision at the commission briefing, its first of the year after Dixon was sworn in Dec. 28.

"I commend the current Greene County Commission for their action today and am committed to conducting a thorough, independent review of county government,” she said. “As I said more than a year ago, the best way to ensure taxpayers get the answers they deserve is through an independent audit that will provide a full accounting of the use of public dollars in Greene County."

The audit request — first made in December 2017 — was a sticking point with former Presiding Commissioner Bob Cirtin, who balked at Galloway’s attempts but allowed an investigation by the Missouri Ethics Commission. Since Greene is a first-class county, it must pass an ordinance or resolution allowing audits by Galloway’s office. Led by Cirtin, the commission did not pass such a resolution, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The day before the primary election in August 2018, Cirtin was cleared of whistleblower allegations by former county spokeswoman Trysta Herzog that he forced county employees to spend work time promoting the Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee. The PAC worked in 2017 to gain voter approval of the county’s half-cent general revenue sales tax.

But that wasn’t enough for Cirtin to secure the votes needed to retain his seat. He was defeated by former Republican state Sen. Dixon in the primaries. Dixon won over Cirtin with more than 67 percent of the votes, and he went on in the general election to beat Democrat Sara Lampe, a former state representative, with 59 percent of the votes.

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