Supervisors move forward with audit

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Board of Supervisors talking about the independent audit proposal.

The Board of Supervisors talking about the independent audit proposal.

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday to discuss a proposal for an independent audit on two separate sets of books handled by former Pearl River County Chancery Clerk David Earl Johnson. The independent audit involves a discovery phase, which Board President Sandy Kane Smith described as the phase that will allow investigators to have a better perspective of the task or tasks necessary to complete an investigation and reporting phase. The fee for the discovery phase is $10,000.

“To break it down, basically if they do not find anything and do not need to go any further, then they will tell us that they do not need to go any further,” said Smith.

District 3 Supervisor, Hudson Holliday asked, “Can someone explain to me why we are trying to use hard-earned taxpayer’s money to do something that the state is already doing right now? We are going to pay for that too.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Holliday said he read a letter from the auditor.

“It states that she is aware that they used the QuickBooks program and an ACS program and all that is reconciled,” Holliday said. “In 16 years there has never been any sign of wrongdoing. Why would we spend money on a wild-goose chase?”

County resident, Frank Vaccarella, said, “It is inherent for the integrity of the county for the people involved to either be cleared and exonerated or to be prosecuted for the wrongdoing. I think this is in the best interest of the citizens that live here and also the people involved. I think the $10,000 is well worth it.”

Smith agreed, saying the additional audit would put closure to the situation and allow the board to move forward.

“I hope nothing comes out of it but the investigation must go on,” said Smith.

The Board of Supervisors approved conducting the independent audit. Holliday opposed the motion.

District 4 Supervisor, Farron Moeller, said, “I think that we will not have complete closure on this situation unless we have an independent audit. As far as spending money, [Holliday] is right to be opposed, however, if it can possibly clear a man’s name and helps everybody in this county move forward, then I think that is what everyone wants.”

See Friday’s edition of the Item for additional coverage on the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting. The next board meeting will be Monday, June 6 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse on Julia Street in Poplarville.