County commisioners sign large payday figure

Monday’s payday figure at the Marion County Commission meeting was one of the largest figures commissioners have signed in a long while.

According to Carol Maggard, county clerk, the total figure $1,067,838.15 included payment of $508,000 to Shilling, payment for the boarding of Lindgren horses, two sheriff trucks, and a road and bridge vehicle, as well as the regular monthly expenses.

Rick Lopez of Hillsboro has been hired as the new courthouse custodian and will start the position May 8.

Scot Loyd of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd, LLC spoke to commissioners about the separate bank accounts established for the Emergency Services crews in their respective communities.

Loyd, in conducting the yearly audit for Marion County, said he discovered the accounts when a Peabody bank report was sent back to him listing the account, but he had not seen the bank account on other county records.

“I called the bank, just out of curiosity and asked why there was such an account,” Loyd said.

According to Loyd, the bank representative said the Peabody ambulance crew had an account in their bank with the county identification number on it.

On March 29, he began doing research on the fund.

He said on April 5 he called the EMS office and asked to speak with JoAnn Knak, director of Marion County emergency Medical Services. He said he was met with resistance by Deanna Olsen, office manager.

“I have been doing this for 18 years,” Loyd said. “I understand people and companies take pride in their bank accounts, but why don’t they want me to look at it?”

Knak agreed last week to gather account information on the six individual crew accounts for Loyd to examine and offer a recommendation.

He said Knak had told him that she had spoken with other directors all over the state, and that similar EMS accounts were run the same way, allowing citizens to make donations to their local crews, with the crews using that money for supplies and equipment.

Loyd, however, said state statutes required any county revenues and expenditures be run through a voucher system.

“Revenues and expenditures need to be accounted for,” he said.

He pointed out area schools made donations to their community’s crew which was on stand-by during football games, and those donations would be considered county revenue and said these donations should be recorded through the county.

“I want to do what is right,” Loyd said.

He also said in some cases, as far as he knew it had not been done, but it was possible that with larger incomes, purchases could be made that might not be approved by a governing body.

Loyd said he wanted to make sure county money is handled properly.

“I in no way wanted to close any operations down,” he said. “But I can’t be responsible for county money that I know nothing about.”

“We did hire you to keep us legal,” said commissioner Howard Collett.

Collett then asked about fire districts and their accounts.

Loyd explained those accounts are set up differently and were overseen by local boards and the county clerk.

Commissioner Bob Hein said he had received calls from concerned citizens about this audit and the individual crew accounts.

Loyd said he will look over the information, complete the audit and have recommendations ready for the commission at a later date.

County Attorney Susan Robson told commissioners a juvenile from Marion County was taken into the Juvenile Detention Center in Junction City and will be held for approximately 20 days, at a cost to the county of $150 per day with a bond set at a high amount.

The juvenile had reportedly made threats at the Centre school system and it was Robson’s decision, based on several different considerations, to have it “better safe than sorry.”

In her monthly report to the commission, Noreen Weems, director of the Marion County Department for Elderly, said the department had received a check from the Nancy H. Reynolds Estate in the amount of $28,714.35, with approximately $1,000 more coming from a federal tax refund.

A meeting to discuss plans for the financial gift is set for Wednesday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Marion Senior Center.

Weems told the commission Reynold’s had earned her doctorate degree at the age of 65 and was a professor of sociology and considered Marion Senior Citizens as her “family.”

N.M. Patton of Peabody came to the commission as a member of the Big Brother/Big Sister board to request funds for 2002.

Patton said the organization had had a good start and had received funds from several organizations, but funds would continue to be an issue as the organization grew and reached out to more students.

Patton also reported Kim Jost, director for the program resigned, but they were in the process of reviewing five applications.

“We consider this a set-back,” Patton said. “But we feel strongly we’ll make it work.”

Patton said the program was planning a membership drive this June with memberships available at different prices.

A golf tournament and “Bowl for Kids Sakes” is also being planned for later in the year.

“We will also be asking the cities for funds and will continue to look and apply for grants,” Patton said.

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