GREENE COUNTY, Mo — Galloway comments on potential misuse of public funds.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway is still investigating Greene County for potential misuse of public funds, possibly used to promote the half-cent sales tax increase passed last November.
26 whistleblowers have filed complaints to the Auditors’ office about Greene County. The initial one was former county employee Trysta Herzog. The other 25 remain anonymous. Galloway updates her investigation against the County Commission.
“It is our job to find the facts, not to presume them,” Galloway says.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway says to find the facts about possible misuse of funds, an audit must take place.
“The county commission has voted not to allow us to conduct a limited-scope audit.
Because of the decision to instead turn the investigation over to the Missouri Ethics Commission, she doesn’t know where those facts could lead.
“We have credible allegations from a whistleblower, that is the picture we have right now. We want the whole picture on behalf of taxpayers. Once that investigation and audit takes place, then we know what the steps are,” says Galloway.
She says the easiest route now for an audit of Greene County is through a citizens’ petition process.
“The petitioners need to gather about 6,500 signatures and if those are valid signatures, then we would be able to do a full audit of Greene County government. The petitioners have one year to collect those signatures. We would welcome that opportunity, because we have concerns clearly from the initial whistleblower and we have received other concerns as well,” Galloway explains.
Those initial whistleblower claims alleged employees being asked to do campaign activities on behalf of the county. The other 25 were a bit different.
“The other whistleblower complaints we have received are more on the financial concerns within the county government, and operational concerns,” Galloway says.
Galloway addressed the ongoing lawsuit against her filed by Sheriff Jim Arnott, who alleging that Galloway didn’t comply with Missouri’s Sunshine Law by not providing a summary of complaints made against the Sheriff’s office.
“We laid out what the allegations were,” explains Galloway. “That public employees were asked to campaign as a condition of employment, public resources and public dollars were being used in the campaign inappropriately. We have provided hundreds of records and documents to the Sheriff,” says Galloway.
Arnott has said those documents were vague, and did not lay out specific complaints, but Galloway feels that she has complied to the best of her ability.
“I think the courts will find we complied with the sunshine law and that we have in the past, and will continue to do so,” Galloway says.
KOLR10 has reached out to County Commissioner Bob Cirtin in the past, and he has declined interviews on advice of his legal representation.
As for the Sheriff’s lawsuit, no information has been released on whether Galloway was in violation of the Sunshine Law.