On Oct. 5, the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) issued an order against an official of the Ozark Fire Protection District in Christian County. The order was issued after the State Auditor's Office investigated and found credible a whistleblower complaint that the district made purchases without proper bidding or public notice. The purchases were from a business partially owned by William Reynolds, a member of the Ozark Fire Protection District board. Since this represented a potential conflict of interest, the Auditor's Office referred the matter to the MEC, which found there was probable cause Reynolds violated the law.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway today issued the following statement:
"As taxpayers' independent watchdog, it is my job to pursue violations of state laws by public officials and work with the appropriate enforcement agencies. That's exactly what happened when my Public Corruption and Fraud Division investigated this whistleblower complaint on spending and bidding by the Ozark Fire Protection District," Auditor Galloway said. "The law is clear that public officials cannot use their position for personal enrichment. When officials are serving themselves and not the people, we bring accountability."
As part of the consent order, the MEC required Reynolds to pay $33,021. If he pays $6,604 within 45 days of the order, the remainder will be stayed. If the MEC finds probable cause of any further conflict of interest violations in the next two years, Reynolds will be required to pay the rest of the fee.
A copy of the Missouri Ethics Commission findings and consent order can be found here.