November 1, 2019
To the citizens of Clay County:
Last week, the Clay County Commission's lawsuit seeking to block a citizen-mandated audit of county government was dismissed. This was a major victory for taxpayers. The court's ruling allows the audit to move forward so that we can get the answers you deserve. As with all audits, my team will be professional, deliberate and thorough.
While the court's judgment orders that costs of this lawsuit be charged to the county, our office will not be charging the county in this matter. For nearly a year my office spent significant time and resources in this fight. Taxpayers have already paid enough for the private attorneys hired by the county for this litigation, and you should not have to pay more.
Since the summer of 2018, thousands of citizens have consistently expressed support for this audit. Many of you shared general and specific concerns about the county's priorities and decisions. In addition, we received multiple whistleblower complaints about financial waste, potential fraud, and rampant mismanagement throughout county operations. We take such allegations seriously and, where credible, we will pursue these leads during our audit to get to the facts. In the coming weeks and months, I ask that you keep my office informed about what else you may hear and any additional details pertinent to this audit.
We are aware of concerns among some county employees about potential intimidation and retaliation. I want to assure all county residents and employees that information shared with us will remain confidential. If you contact us as a whistleblower, your identity is protected by law. Throughout 2017 and 2018, I worked with a bipartisan group of legislators and fought for greater whistleblower protections. We were successful in securing these important safeguards. No one should be reluctant to speak out against improper or illegal use of taxpayer money.
As I stated in my September letter, I understand your frustrations. And, based on how the majority of the Commission has acted, we may face additional roadblocks. My commitment to the promise I made to citizens has never wavered — we will get you answers. You deserve nothing less.
Please continue reaching out to my office if you have information to share with our audit team. You may contact our Whistleblower Hotline at email@example.com, by calling 800.347.8597 or online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.
Nicole Galloway, CPA
The letter can also be found here