FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The State Auditor’s Office found evidence of a record-breaking number of abuse and intentional overrides of internal controls by a former Jackson County treasurer as part of an audit of the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years.
Among the findings, then-County Treasurer Beth Sallee overpaid herself more than $114,000 during the two years. That includes $54,000 in paychecks beyond her approved salary of $45,450, as well as $60,000 from the restricted Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. That federal grant is meant to aid communities improve emergency preparedness and response.
The findings from the two reviews will be reported to the FBI, state police, the state attorney general’s office and the Kentucky Department of Revenue, according to Harmon.
The referrals could lead to a criminal investigation.
“We are referring both audits to federal and state law enforcement agencies because of the egregious conduct of the former county treasurer who improperly made numerous payments to herself,” Auditor Mike Harmon said in a news release.
Jackson County residents “deserve better from those entrusted to handle the people’s business” Harmon said.
As part of the process, the auditors comment on noncompliance with laws, regulations, contracts, and grants. They also comment on material weaknesses involving the internal control over financial operations and reporting.
Each such comment is known as a “finding,” with 35 findings in the 2015 audit and 40 more in 2016, including 35 of which were repeats from the previous year.
“By far, this is the most we’ve ever had, for counties or even special examinations” said State auditor Mike Harmon.
In responses included in the audit, County Judge-Executive Shane Gabbard said the county has taken steps to fix the problems in the reviews and has cut costs to make up the deficits.
Sallee has not returned a phone message or answered emails seeking comment.