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State investigates county finances

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Two Huntington County officials were fired on April 29 following a personnel review held in executive session.

Huntington County Commissioner Larry Buzzard said IT director Matt Taylor and his wife Melissa Taylor, who directed central dispatch, were let go after the county auditor brought something to their attention before the April 29 meeting.

“Issues arose through the auditor’s office, which coincided with an audit by the State Board of Accounts,” Buzzard said. “That’s how it all evolved, and from that point on, it’s a personnel matter. I can’t comment further than that.

Buzzard said Indiana State Police have been notified.

“The county dealt with it, and we’re waiting on the investigation to be complete,” Buzzard added.

ISP communications director Sgt. Ron Galaviz said their department was notified of a complaint involving finances from Huntington County, but he said ISP policy does not allow their department to identify suspects in any cases.

“At this point, we haven’t really started anything because the state board of accounts is conducting an investigation, and once they finish, our investigator will partner up with them, go over the findings and determine if there was any criminal element to what they find,” Galavis said.

When asked specifics about the investigation, State Board of Accounts chief of staff Matthew Light wrote the following:

“The State Board of Accounts can confirm that we were notified recently by county officials of irregularities they had discovered, pursuant to Indiana Code section 5-11-1-27(j). We are reviewing the matter at this time. We cannot comment further on the details based on the examination workpaper and investigation record confidentiality provisions in Indiana Code section 5-11-5-1.”

I.C. 5-11-1-27 covers local governmental internal controls, personnel training, violations and reporting misappropriations.

Park “J” says “all erroneous or irregular material variances, losses shortages, or thefts of political subdivision funds or property shall be reported immediately to the state board of accounts. For all material variances, losses, shortages or thefts, the state board of accounts shall:

“Determine the amount of funds involved and report the amount to the appropriate government and law enforcement officials; determine the internal control weakness that contributed to or caused the condition and make written recommendations to the appropriate legislative body or appropriate official over the internal control systems addressing” the issues,” according to Indiana Code.

The Herald-Press has filed a public records request to the Huntington County Board of Commissioners, but the county has not responded to that request pursuant to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Editor’s note: As of deadline Friday, there is no information or evidence available that indicates any criminal activity was committed.