In an unprecedented move, Clay County staff failed to appear at 10 a.m. this morning as required under a subpoena issued more than two weeks ago by State Auditor Nicole Galloway. The lawfully executed subpoena required records and testimony associated with a citizen-mandated audit of Clay County to be provided to the State Auditor's Office this morning.
An Oct. 24 court ruling confirmed the Auditor's legal authority to conduct performance audits and dismissed the County Commission's lawsuit against the Auditor. Following that ruling, auditors again sought documentation originally requested in December 2018 and January 2019. When officials failed to fulfill the requests, Auditor Galloway issued the Nov. 8 subpoena to Clay County to require documents and testimony.
Today, the assistant county administrator failed to appear and provide documentation as required by the subpoena. The audit team is pursuing information routinely and readily provided in audits of county governments, but has been continually met with last minute delays, inconsistent information and excuses from the county.
Because the subpoena was lawfully executed, the State Auditor's Office will now take Clay County to court to demand compliance. This is the first time the State Auditor's Office has been required to take this step to get answers and information. The county's continued unwillingness to cooperate with the citizen-mandated audit requires the State Auditor's Office to evaluate available audit resources and legal options.
The audit of Clay County was initiated after a citizen petition was submitted to the Auditor's Office and then verified to have more than the minimum 5,590 signatures of county residents who are registered voters. The audit began in December 2018. In January 2019, Clay County sued to prevent the Auditor from conducting the citizen-mandated audit. After a judge dismissed the lawsuit at the end of October, audit work resumed.