A bi-partisan group of citizens behind a county-wide effort to gather enough signatures to make an official petition request to Galloway’s office said they would proceed with the petition, but slow down efforts now that the commission has officially voted to make the request.

The Camden County Commission voted to approve a resolution on Tuesday morning making an official request to Nicole Galloway of the Missouri State Auditor’s Office for a performance audit of the entire local government.

Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty along with First District Commissioner Bev Thomas said the audit, if accepted, would go a long to restoring the public’s confidence in its county government. Second District Commissioner Don Williams, who was absent with an illness, sent in a statement of support that Hasty read aloud to be recorded in official meeting minutes.

A bi-partisan group of citizens behind a county-wide effort to gather enough signatures to make an official petition request to Galloway’s office said they would proceed with the petition, but slow down efforts now that the commission has officially voted to make the request.

Rick Pope and Dave Krehbiel, two of the groups members, spoke in support of the commission’s decision, but wanted to clarify that the county would be requesting a performance, or comprehensive, audit of the entire government and not any specific offices.

Hasty and Thomas assured the citizens that was the case and were not accusing any elected official or department of criminal wrongdoing, but did state that they believed the audit would likely uncover some issues with internal controls, proper procedures and documentation.

Treasurer Elaine Gilley said in her previous conversations with the state auditor’s office, they informed her that if there was any evidence of suspected criminal activity, they would be in Camden County that very afternoon, which has not been the case.

The citizen’s group said they would reach back out to Galloway to confirm their support of the commission’s request, but requested Hasty and Thomas provide them with a confirmation of receipt from the state office of the commission’s request as well as the state’s response.

Thomas reminded the citizens that just because the commission will officially request the audit this afternoon, the auditor’s office has the final say in whether or not they accept the task. Pope said that’s why the group would continue to collect signatures as an official backup effort that could be submitted if the commission’s request is denied.

“It’s going to be harder to stop 4,000 people than three commissioners,” Pope said, who added that previous estimates of first-class county audits have cost between $100,000 to $150,000-plus based on the scope and findings of the audit.

The commission said they likely wouldn’t know the total cost of the audit until it was complete and would cross that bridge when they get there.  

OTHER BUSINESS:

At the request of Road and Bridge Administrator Lee Schuman, P.E., the commission approved lowering the speed limit of Spencer Creek Road from 35 mph to 30 mph. Schuman said there is currently no signage on the road which indicates a 35-mph speed limit and his department has received several complaints from concerned citizens.

He told the commission he personally drove the road and thought the 30-mph limit would be better than a 25-mph. The commission unanimously approved the recommendation.

After the commission had finished discussion and vote on the state audit request, citizen Nancy Steward publicly questioned the commission’s decision to hire Lowther Johnson Law Firm of Springfield to handle Sunshine Law requests.

“I didn’t find out until after the vote. The public should have known about this,” Steward said. “We’re spending a lot of money on lawyers. I think you should consider a sunset clause.”

Hasty responded that the county was doing what was in the best interest of its employees and were listening to the advice of legal counsel. Hasty said they would continue to use the law firm as needed.

“We made the decision we had to make,” he said.