A much needed audit of the Glynn County Clerk of Superior Court’s office could begin next week with the goal of identifying exactly how much money and from what accounts money is missing from the office’s coffers.
The Glynn County Finance Committee recommended this past Tuesday that commissioners commit $25,000 to pay the Atlanta-based accounting firm Miller, Bates, Carter and Co. to conduct the audit. The full county commission is expected to discuss the matter at a work session this coming Tuesday. If the money for the audit is approved that day, it could allow the company to begin immediately.
The audit should begin as soon as possible.
The newly elected clerk, Ron Adams, took office last week facing a huge chunk of missing money that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation estimated to be around $673,000 from its own forensic audit. Initial estimates put the dollar amount at around $94,000 missing from various accounts the clerk’s office uses to take payments ordered by the court and child support escrow among other things.
County officials were right to want a full audit after the original estimate, but without the cooperation of the previous clerk and a request from the GBI to hold off until it was done with its investigation delayed it.
With the new clerk officially on the job and the GBI having passed its investigation on to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia, an audit by the county cannot come soon enough.
To put it in perspective, Glynn County provides roughly $1.2 million a year to the clerk’s office to help with operations of the office. While the missing money is not from that fund, $673,000 is more than half that amount.
County officials should be commended for their quick action in pushing for an audit once they got the all-clear from the GBI.
With things moving forward on the local side, we hope the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council moves quickly in pursuing charges against whomever may be responsible and involved. We know an accountant working for the clerk’s office was fired in early 2015 for misappropriation of funds, but no charges have been filed against anyone yet.
It seems an almost certainty that criminal charges should apply somehow in this case, it is now just a matter of against whom.
We hope the county’s audit moves swiftly and provides the information needed and the situation is sorted out as soon as possible.
As Adams told The News Tuesday: “I look forward to the day when I can worry about making decisions just from this point forward, and not trying to go back to 2008 to try to figure out what happened that far back into the past.”