Audit Reveals Problems With Sheriff’s Office

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A state audit report released Tuesday includes findings for recovery of $5,475 against Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly and a total of $263 against two of his employees.

The report also cites the "disarray" of records left by the outgoing administration of County Engineer Archie Stanley, who left office at the end of 2012. The audit report covers calendar year 2012.

The largest finding against Kelly is for $5,226 in expenditures illegally made from the Athens County Law Enforcement Trust Fund, although the report essentially says the money was paid from the wrong fund and allows the issue to be resolved by transferring money.

The expenditures, from last August and September, included: $3,158 for meals and linens; $1,657 for polo shirts; $266 for invitations and envelopes; and $145 for Explorer shirts.

"The sheriff agreed these expenditures should have been made from the Furtherance of Justice account as they have been in the past, rather from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund," the audit report states.

Kelly said Tuesday that the money was paid out of the Law Enforcement Trust Fund because that's what it was thought was supposed to happen, based on earlier information provided by the state auditor's office.

Sheriff's Fiscal Officer Dawn Deputy said most of the $5,226 in expenditures relate to graduations held for the department's police academy and citizens academy.

The report states that the matter can be resolved by transferring the money from the Furtherance of Justice account into the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.

The other audit findings against the sheriff and his employees relate to the Mandatory Drug Fine Fund. The $249 in unallowable expenditures attributed to Kelly include about $180 in meeting costs, $22 for supplies, $13 for "food bike patrol" and $35 for "water after storm." There also were findings of $141 against fiscal officer Deputy for money spent for a retirement party and $122 against administrative assistant Teresa Kirkendall for money spent on a "law enforcement party."

The money is supposed to be spent for drug-related law enforcement, according to the audit report.

Deputy said the findings against her and Kirkendall relate to reimbursements for money they spent out of their own pockets. She said the "law enforcement party" referred to in the audit was the office's law enforcement appreciation dinner.

The audit report makes the finding for recovery against Kelly and his bonding company for the $249 in unallowable expenditures attributed to Kelly and also for the expenditures attributed to Deputy and Kirkendall, since Kelly is the legal steward of the Mandatory Drug Fine Fund.

In his official response listed in the audit report, Kelly said that receipts should have been labeled better as to what fund should have been credited for the expenses. He also states that new accounting practices have been put in place.

A "noncompliance and significant deficiency" finding relating to Athens County Engineer's Office records is listed in the audit.

"Records of the outgoing engineer's office were in such disarray as to not allow for auditing procedures related to Federal Emergency Management Agency expenditures relating to a 2011 disaster," the audit report states.

The Messenger previously reported that new County Engineer Jeff Maiden asked the Athens County Sheriff's Office to investigate missing records at the engineer's department, and that Maiden's staff was piecing together information so that the county could seek FEMA reimbursement for six culvert replacement and slip repair projects.

Maiden said Tuesday that only one of the projects has been submitted so far for reimbursement, and FEMA has responded with the questions it wants answered. As for the investigation, Maiden said the last he heard was that the sheriff's office was to bring out a former engineer's employee who supposedly knew the location of the FEMA records, but that hasn't happened.