Fund Dispute Settled Between Athens Co. Auditor And Prosecutor

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A dispute in Athens County over who should have control of law enforcement trust funds has come to an end.

County Auditor Jill Thompson says that after receiving four court orders, she cut checks to County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn for more than $34,000 total.
The Republican auditor and Democrat prosecutor were locked in a disagreement over who should have control of the funds. 
Thompson says she feels it is better for her to oversee the funds, using what she says are proper internal controls on the transactions.
"As I see it, the prosecutor has taken a measure of unprecedented actions and I guess it's just a differentiation between him and our former administrations in the past," said Thompson.
Blackburn says he is well within his rights to access and control the funds.
"Yes, the law enforcement trust fund is a fund that's supposed to be under control of the county prosecutor and county sheriff. The county auditor had refused expenditures for things like transcripts in rape cases," said Blackburn.
Thompson responded by saying there was no refusal to pay, rather her office was making sure such a payment was legal.
"Our office did not “refuse” payment, but rather advised Mr. Blackburn that the IRS required the payment to be paid through payroll rather than by a voucher that would require a 1099. Our office only insisted the employee be paid properly and in accordance with law."
Blackburn says that the fund helps in things like drug busts, buying law enforcement equipment and helping keep Athens safe.
Blackburn says that the auditor tried to put money from the trust fund into general funds to pay salaries but Thompson said that's just not the case.
"When the County Sheriff was not able to make payroll, we asked if this fund could be used to pay salaries. Mr. Blackburn informed us that it could not. There was not any additional conversation concerning this matter. Our office was simply trying to make sure that law enforcement officers that earned their pay would receive a pay check," Thompson said.