Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office issued its second-highest rating to Greene County in an audit that covered a portion of its operations.
The audit specifically examined the finances of the county government agencies other than the Greene County Commission and sheriff's office. Audits of the commission and sheriff's office continue, though a publish date was not disclosed in a news release from the auditor. A county spokesperson could not be reached for comment by deadline.
The county government operations that were audited for the report released today resulted in a score of "good," meaning an entity is well managed and that if recommendations were made by the auditor's office, they've either been implemented or are in the process of being put into place.
The audit – examining the year ended Dec. 31, 2018 – took issue with $15,125 in disbursements for employee appreciation and recognition, saying the funds represent a "questionable" use of county resources. Further, the audit indicates the Greene County Highway Department improperly issued $3,000 in gift cards for employees; and that the prosecuting attorney's and treasurer's offices should reassess their accounting procedures.
"Government agencies in Missouri consistently use the findings of our audits to better serve citizens, and it is encouraging that Greene County officials indicate they have either implemented the recommendations or are in the process of doing so," Galloway said in the release.
After Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon won his seat in 2018, he led the county to approve Galloway's request to conduct an audit. Dixon's predecessor, Bob Cirtin, eschewed Galloway’s request in favor of a Missouri Ethics Commission investigation into allegations of misuse of public funds.
The day before the August 2018 primary election, Cirtin was cleared of wrongdoing in whistleblower allegations brought on by former county spokesperson Trysta Herzog. Cirtin was accused of forcing county employees to spend work time promoting the Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee for the county’s half-cent general revenue sales tax that was approved in 2017, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Galloway in December 2019 received approval from a judge to protect whistleblowers following a suit filed by Sheriff Jim Arnott, according to the release. Arnott had claimed the auditor’s office withheld needed documents containing the whistleblower complaints after he filed a Sunshine Law request.
"We continue to seek answers for taxpayers in our audits of the county commission and the sheriff," Galloway said in the release.
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