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County attorney recommends exam of treasurer, finance officer’s computers

Questions over a transfer within a jail account led the county attorney to recommend seizing and examining the computers of the county treasurer and finance officer.

During Tuesday’s Clark County Fiscal Court meeting, questions arose concerning a $7,996 transfer within a jail account from one line item to another. County Treasurer Jerry Madden told the court he overlooked a purchase order, which led to it being overdrawn.

The transfer was on the agenda for Thursday’s regular meeting, but the meeting was canceled to give the magistrates more time to study the information.

The transfer was on the agenda Tuesday, but Clark County Attorney William Elkins said state budget documents said making retro-active transfers is not lawful, nor is making transfers without the court’s approval.

Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos also questioned the transfer, while comparing the order to a financial statement he requested Monday, after the new month started.

Financial Officer Frankie Faulkner said she produced the document at Konstantopoulos’ request, but said it was not an official document.

“So you just conjured this up?” Elkins asked.

“Kind of,” Faulkner said.

“That’s nothing short of official misconduct,” Elkins said.

He then recommended that their computers be seized and held for a forensic examination.

Faulkner said that if the transfer was not approved by the Fiscal Court, it would be reversed.

“It’s been posted,” she said. “It can be re-posted. If it’s not approved today, it can be reversed. There’s nothing hidden.”

Amending the existing order, Elkins said, would effectively double the transfer.

“I can only imagine what potential plans may be in the works for how we may fix things once they leave this room,” Elkins said. “The public trust where money is concerned can’t be where the soft spot is.”

County officials were also scheduled to send the data Tuesday for county employees’ payroll. Following the meeting, Clark County Judge-Executive Chris Pace said he understood they could complete the payroll, with someone observing Madden and Faulkner.

Ultimately, the court voted 5-1 to move the funds from the jail’s worker’s compensation line item to the commissary employees, and then reverse the process. Magistrate Greg Elkins voted against the motion.

Pace said he deferred to William Elkins’ advice in the matter.

“My understanding is, from what the county attorney recommended, was the transfer made retroactively was illegal,” Pace said. “My understanding is we can have someone observe the production of payroll, and then we send the hard drives off for imaging.”

In other action Tuesday, the court:

— appointed Derek Hood to the Ethics Board.

— approved status changes for David Begley, Mary McLemore and Jerry Miller in the Clark County Road Department and 12 firefighters in the Clark County Fire Department

— approved an order to dispose of surplus property from the Fire Department.

— approved an order to close Van Meter Road and Rolling Hills Lane on Sept. 26 for the Rally4Recovery.

— approved an order to extend the part-time temporary county detective position within the County Attorney’s office for one year or the position becomes permanent.

—approved an order to contribute $6,500 toward the purchase of a new chemical feeder system for Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation. The funds will be split between the fiscal court’s community foundation and the county’s rainy day fund.

— met in closed session for nine minutes to discuss industrial prospects. No action was taken.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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