Judge takes no action on county's request in audit case

During a press event at the Missouri Capitol last month, State Auditor Nicole Galloway told reporters audit work continues in Clay County despite lags related to the county’s legal action. No timeline has been given for when results are expected.

A Missouri judge took no action on a motion filed by Clay County in its case against State Auditor Nicole Galloway by the Monday, Feb. 10, deadline, effectively denying the County Commission’s claim. The county sought to amend an order of dismissal in the case that confirmed the auditor’s legal authority to conduct performance audits of counties.

The lawsuit was originally filed more than a year ago by the Clay County Commission, which claims Galloway overstepped her authority as state auditor in requesting certain information from the county.

“When the case was dismissed in October, the judgment was clear: the state auditor has the authority to perform a comprehensive audit of the operations and finances of Clay County government. It is unfortunate that some members of the Clay County Commission have attempted to prevent the audit that citizens demanded from moving forward. Nonetheless, we will continue our audit work and get the answers these taxpayers deserve,” states a release from Galloway’s office.

The audit was initiated by a citizen petition of about 9,000 county residents who are registered voters.

Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte, who supports the audit effort and has been against the county's legal auction in relation to the audit, said the county needs to stop the legal fight against the auditor and let her and her team do the job Clay County taxpayers petitioned her office to do more than a year ago. 

Discussion between the commission and county legal counsel about about the audit lawsuit development has taken place in closed session, said Nolte. A majority of the commission, made up of Nolte, Eastern Commissioner Luann Ridgeway and Western Commissioner Gene Owen decided to continue to move forward with continued legal action in the case. What type of legal action the county plans to take next has yet to be publicly released.

During a press event in the Missouri Capitol last month, Galloway told reporters audit work continues despite lags related to the county’s legal action. No timeline has been given for when results are expected.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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