Hickman County Sheriff responds to audit, agrees to repay
The Hickman County Sheriff may not have responded to the state audit report that was released last week, but he did respond to fiscal court members in a special-called meeting Monday night.
Judge Executive Kenny Wilson sat across from Sheriff Mark Green as they went through the audit line by line. The first, $2,882 of disallowed expenditures. According to the report they were disallowed because they were of personal nature or lacked proper supporting documentation.
Green admitted he doesn’t have the receipts and some he doesn’t even have good reason.
I’m not denying I don’t owe these funds,” he said. “I don’t have the receipts to prove what was purchased. I could tell you what they were for, but that doesn’t prove anything.” That includes an unaccounted meal, for example, Green said the receipt blew out the window of his car.
Green agreed to pay for what he doesn’t have documented and for $3,919 the Fiscal Court paid him for gas in 2013. The Sheriff was also being reimbursed $0.47 a mile.
“Did I know I couldn’t have the Fiscal Court paying the gas and me getting reimbursed? No,” said the Sheriff. “When I found out, it ended right then and there.”
What hasn’t ended, are bills for cell phones Green can’t account for. He said at least one line has been canceled, but it remains on the bills. He also said there are 10 emergency lines that are in a safe and not being used. Wilson and magistrates agreed they couldn’t assign an amount to the money owed because they don’t have all the information yet. Green promised to bring the rest of the information by the April 9 meeting.
Green didn’t agree with everything within the audit including daily deposits. He said they don’t have money to deposit every day, or amounts so small it wasn’t worth going to the bank. He told the Judge Executive he’ll probably continue to get written up for that.
“That’s the wrong attitude to have,” Wilson told him. He added the deposit complaint is the easiest to fix.
Green also didn’t like what he heard about the travel policy. Wilson said the county policy said meals are to not be reimbursed if there is no overnight travel. Green argued his guards transporting prisoners are gone for 11 hours sometimes and he thinks they should get a meal. Wilson said he can pay them out of his own fund, not theirs.
“If I have to reimburse my guards for eating when they’re in an 11 hour trip then I’ll do it, but I think it’s crazy,” said Green.He added that he’s gong to draft his own version of a travel policy he’d like to see to present it to the court for approval. He said he’d have a draft by the May meeting.
As for the overages in the salaries and budget, the court members agreed that was more of a bookkeeping problem, and have rectified it by more frequent budget checks.
It was the money spent from the drug fund the magistrates and the community have the most trouble understanding. According to records, there are 39 withdrawals using a debit card from the account with no other documentation. The sheriff said the cash was used to buy drugs to catch drug dealers.
“This is what people have wanted your job over,” Magistrate Kory Naranjo said. “No joke. I’m not lying to you. They want you gone because of this.”
All of the magistrates had a problem with the lack of paper trail and documentation. Green said he asked the auditor for help in 2012 and now has proper paperwork to help them track.
Green had no comment for Local 6 after the meeting, but did tell magistrates he didn’t respond to the audit because he didn’t think it mattered.
“Just the mere fact that whatever I said he said would be published and I said, ‘then I’m not going up comment because, you know, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have the receipts.’ What can I say? I screwed up on the paperwork,” he said.
Wilson and court members agreed to reach a final total when they have all the information about the phones and then Green will repay them. According to the County Attorney, he’ll have 90 days from the day of the audit to repay or the county will have to file a lawsuit against him.