Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today provided Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott with 38 additional pages of documents that came from a whistleblower alleging misuse of public resources by county officials.
While Missouri law requires the identity of whistleblowers to be protected, the State Auditor's Office recently received permission from the whistleblower to release the documents, even though the documents would reveal that person's identity. The information was released in a continuing response to Sunshine Law requests made to the Auditor in December for documents concerning the Greene County Sheriff’s Office or Sheriff Arnott.
“Without whistleblowers, wrongdoing by government officials might remain hidden in the shadows,” Auditor Galloway said. “Yet whistleblowers are often hesitant to come forward because they fear losing their job or other retribution. As was clearly demonstrated in this case, I am committed to my legal duty to protect the identity of whistleblowers who want to remain anonymous, for as long as they want to remain anonymous."
Auditor Galloway received whistleblower complaints last fall about possible misuse of public resources in Greene County in connection with a tax ballot issue. She then asked the County Commission to legally request her office to conduct an audit to determine if such misuse had taken place.
Last week, the Auditor’s Office provided more than 300 pages of documents to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office as part of the response to the Sunshine requests. This was in addition to documents that were immediately provided after the requests were made; at the time, the State Auditor's Office also committed to providing additional information in accordance with an established timeline.
Prior to the completion of the review and after requesting documents that could have been used to identify whistleblowers, Sheriff Arnott filed a lawsuit against the Auditor. That lawsuit is pending.
Auditor Galloway reminded Missourians that individuals who would like to provide information about this situation or with other information concerning possible government waste, fraud or abuse may contact the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.