Commissioners need to give answers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 30, 2002

Pike County commissioners have an opportunity to step forward and answer the public’s questions about recent findings in a state audit.

But will they?

County Administrator Harry Sanders said this week that the routine audit had produced several findings, presumably findings of irregularities or concerning practices.

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County commissioners were briefed on those findings in an exit interview conducted in April.

But since then, rumors and speculation about those findings have spread through the courthouse, and around Pike County, and no one has stepped forward to provide an answer. In fact, the only commissioner to return phone calls this week deferred comment until the state audit report is made public on or about June 7. While we respect any constraints state auditors may have placed on the commissioners, we believe the officials can – and should – find a way to provide some answers and directions on this issue, well before June 7.

The disturbing note is that none of the other commissioners returned phone calls or offered an explanation or comment on the audit.

And that’s discouraging because the taxpayers and voters of Pike County deserve to have their questions asked, and answered. Moreover,

the commissioners need to be accountable to the public; and without accountability and answers, the rumors and speculation grow.

If a state audit has produced questions or items to be addressed by the commission, then our commissioners need to be upfront about that and need to explain it to the public. And, we would assume they are working to rectify any issues cited by auditors. If so, they need to tell the public.

If the audit did not generate serious findings, then commissioners need to go on record and clarify that, as well. Then, they need to direct the attention of the voters and taxpayers to the other issues at hand, from county funding to school taxes or whatever they see as critical issues.

And, if they are forbidden by law to comment then they need to say so, and acknowledge the concerns among members of the public. The voters would have the reassurance that commissioners are being accountable on these issues.

It’s as simple as stepping forward, answering questions and providing proactive leadership.

We hope the commission will do just that.  

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