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Missouri audit: Ex-county official skirted transparency | St. Louis News Headlines – St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri 2021-11-24 10:15:00 –

Jefferson City, Missouri (AP) —A former Missouri county commissioner planned a way to circumvent the open meeting rules and told county employees him, according to a state audit report released Tuesday. I tried to get him to work for the Political Action Commission.

Missouri Audit & Supervisory Board Office report Follow ethical complaints made to the Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee. The committee was led by former Greene County Chair Bob Cirtin to drive the 2017 local excise tax hike. Cirtin was voted absent in 2018.

The audit was conducted by a committee serving the Springfield area.

Auditor Nicole Galloway found that taxpayers in Green County paid $ 35,000 for a bill related to ethical complaints against PAC. A state audit determined that Cirtin used the county email to ask county employees to volunteer for the PAC.

According to an audit report, Cirtin also asked a county spokeswoman to quote a PAC newspaper ad, but she refused.

“Bob, you’re using the county’s resources to instruct me as a boss to work on behalf of the PAC,” she wrote in an October 2017 email included in the report. Fourth by the Institutional Review Board? “

The Communication Director was not appointed in the audit.

An email obtained by the Board of Corporate Auditors showed that Cirtin tried to circumvent the open meeting rules while forming the PAC to avoid the attention of the local newspaper Springfield News-Leader. It has been.

“Friends: If you have a meeting attended by two or more members, you must post it as a public meeting,” Cirtin wrote to other county authorities in September 2017. “This is not a good idea because you can’t take risks. You can’t show the sausage making to the newsreader of the media you’re attending.”

Cirtin did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.

Galloway’s office also found that Greene County taxpayers incurred approximately $ 35,000 in legal costs associated with Missouri’s ethical complaints against PAC.

Audits revealed that the county did not get a quote for legal services, did not compare multiple law firms, and did not have a contract with one of the law firms that supported the ethical complaint.

In the response included in the audit, the current County Commission promised that legal services would be exempt from bidding rules, but would “seek proposals for professional services in the right circumstances.” Update the policy to request documentation of the reasons behind the waiver of procurement requirements.

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