SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Bob Dixon has only been the presiding commissioner of Greene County for about a week and already he’s inviting State Auditor Nicole Galloway to come down and take a look the recent activity of his new office.
“A lot of the conversation this morning centered on restoring the public trust,” Dixon says.
You see, the seat Dixon now fills was once occupied by Bob Cirtin, who was, last year, accused of misusing public dollars to advocate for a 2017 county sales tax.
After those whistleblower allegations, Auditor Galloway said she would be willing to investigate for free. However, Cirtin and his commission refused to invite her opting, instead, to hire Kansas City-based firm Graves Garrett to conduct an independent investigation which cost taxpayers over $300,000.
The firm’s report ultimately lead to no new information, only questioned if the auditor could do her work for free.
However, the Missouri Ethics Commision fined Greene County, after it said the commissioners incorrectly identified who paid for push cards used to educate the public.
The need for transparency and specifically a county investigation became Dixon’s campaign platform leading up to his election.
On Wednesday, the commission, led by Dixon, finally requested that investigation.
However, the commissioners are looking for more than what Galloway originally offered.
“The free audit that the auditor recommended would’ve been limited to only the areas where a complaint was made on the whistle blower hotline in the state auditor’s office,” he says. “We did not go with that option. We went with a broader option. Which put no restrictions on the state auditor. She and her staff will be able to take a look at everything and anything she wants to look at.”
Auditor Galloway responded to hearing about the request saying Wednesday saying “…the best way to ensure taxpayers get the answers they deserve is through an independent audit that will provide a full accounting of the use of public dollars in Greene County.”
But this new investigation could again, foot the bill to taxpayers. This time, roughly $150,000.
“I think it’ll be a good step, being able to move forward as a county,” says Dixon.