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County unanimously passes financial policy
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County officials have accepted a resolution to adopt the 1981 Financial Management System’s Policy and Procedures Manual.
The measure passed the full court unanimously with a vote of 23-0 on Monday. County Commissioner Kenneth Rogers was absent.
While the effort to combine the accounting departments of the highway, school and county is moving along, it is not doing so without conflicts.
“Is there going to be a problem with section 2.3 of the policy when it comes to conflict of interest?” County Commissioner Joel Akers asked of Rick Stacy, assistant county attorney.
The section states, “It is a breach of ethical conduct for any employee or official to participate, directly or indirectly, in a contract or procurement when he/ she or any immediate family member has a financial interest in the transaction.”
“Without a specific situation, it would be difficult for me to answer that question,” said Stacy.
By policy, those appointed for the Financial Management Committee cannot have an immediate family member working for the county. Akers says Highway Department superintendent Levie Glenn’s wife is employed at the highway department.
“You wanted specifics, so I gave you one,” Akers said. “I just don’t want this to come back and bite us in the (butt).”
According to county attorney Larry Stanley, that particular section in the policy deals with committee members and a conflict of interest because they will have the authority to establish policies, procedures and regulations for administering funds to departments where a family member works.
The long-standing controversy in the highway department is in regard to the county’s policy against nepotism. Stanley says Glenn is not in violation of the policy.
“As long as Glenn’s wife is not working directly under him, that does not fall under the county’s nepotism policy,” Stanley said.
“Your point is well taken,” said Akers. “I don’t agree with it, but it is well taken.”
There is one situation that is in direct conflict to the policy over the county’s Financial Management System Act, that of County Commissioner Gary Prater, who is currently a member of the Financial Management Committee.
“Gary Prater is a friend of mine,” said County Commissioner Wayne Copeland. “His sister works for the school system. Is there a problem with him sitting on that committee? Does that affect him?”
Implementation of the new accounting department would put Prater in violation of the policy. An immediate family member is defined as spouse, child, grandchild, parent, sibling, grandparent, stepchild, stepparent, stepbrother/ stepsister, parents in-law, son/ daughter in-law, brother/ sister in-law.
“I’ll resign from the committee tonight,” said Prater.
County Executive John Pelham would like for Prater to remain on the committee, at this time.
“I have had discussions with Gary in regard to this,” Pelham said. “Because the act will not be fully implemented until July 1 and in September we appoint new committee members, it is my desire that Commissioner Prater stay on until that time.”
Prater’s status on the Financial Management Committee was left unresolved.