The law firm hired by the Greene County Commission to look into whistleblowers' claims of using public resources to promote a half-cent sales tax has finished gathering materials for its preliminary investigation.
In the report, Graves Garrett LLC lists the items it collected and what could potentially be useful for further investigation into claims of using public money to campaign for the passing of a sales tax that was on the November 2017 ballot.
The firm didn’t say the commission was without fault, and mentioned there needs to be a deeper investigation.
The report also gave a breakdown what Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has said since she received the first tip of financial mishandling.
The firm claimed some of Galloway’s statements were untrue, touching on her comments about conducting an audit for free.
The firm claims that although the State Auditor’s Office continues to say an audit from it will be conducted for free, statutes in the Missouri Constitution say the county still must pay some kind of fee.
When the first accusations of financial mishandling surfaced, the State Auditor’s Office offered to do an audit at no charge to the county.
Instead, the County Commission hired Graves Galloway LLC to do an investigation at the cost of $360 per hour.
The firm finished by giving the County Commission a few options; go ahead with an investigation with Graves Garrett, use a different firm, or take up Auditor Galloway’s offer.
The decision still has to be put up to a vote by commissioners.
Greene County Commissioner Lincoln Hough has since commented on the report.
“To date, the actions by the Greene County Commission has fallen short of meeting any reasonable standards of providing Greene County citizens transparency and accountability. Failing to allow an open and thorough independent investigation undermines the Commission’s credibility with the residents of Greene County.
From the beginning, I have maintained there must be a full accounting and investigation into the issues surrounding the, now multiple whistleblower accusations. Only the Auditor can protect those employees that have come forward with concerns about potential violations of the law. With the Auditor waiving all costs to Greene County to conduct a full investigation, no reasonable excuse remains to authorize the Auditor to act.”