A couple of weeks ago when the chamber’s Leadership Pickens class toured the county offices, Commissioner Rob Jones was asked by one class member if the new chief financial officer had straightened things out. Jones told the group during a public session that there was nothing to straighten out and that they shouldn’t believe everything they read in the paper.
We’d like to respond by reprinting headlines from the past seven months.
February 28, 2013 - 10-year review of county finances sought
January 10, 2013, Commissioners vow to slash county budget by $1 million
January 3, 2013 County CFO resignation still up in the air
December 27 County finance officer resigns ... Maybe
December 13, County budget shows slight increase
December 6, 2012 Auditor: Former CFO sloppy, but nothing illegal
From the story - The transitional audit recently released shows the former CFO ran sloppy books and had poor communication with county officials, but that no illegal activity took place during her employment.
November 22, 2012 Former CFO had county months behind paying bills
September 13, 2012 Commissioner agrees to cut tax hike half
This story reported that following public outrage at a proposed 9-percent property tax increase, the commissioner decided to cut it back to 4.5 percent, still an additional $328,347 increase over 2012 collections.
September 13, 2012 County finance officer resigns
September 13, 2012 An Open Letter to Taxpayers of Pickens County from Robert Jones
This issue also included an open letter from Mr. Jones, which acknowledged the problems cited above.
Following what was hailed as an unprecedented meeting of all elected officials, Mr. Jones’ letter stated, “correspondence generated by my office does not accurately describe your elected officials’ expenditures.”
It also stated, “a correction will be forthcoming from my office in the near future after certain personnel changes are finalized.”
Furthermore it said, “County spending will change next year. You have asked for it to be decreased and it will be decreased.”
September 6, 2012 - Anger over proposed 9 percent tax increase grows -- Final chance for cuts not encouraging, says Jones
August 30, 2012 Tax hike too much, citizens tell commissioner
And finally back to where it all began last summer when in Mr. Jones’ telling a single legal settlement where the county had to pay back taxes it knew were subject to dispute touched off the whole chain of events.
August 23, 2012, Commissioner blames tax hike on Young Life settlement
The Progress is optimistic that with the current CFO and three-member board of commissioners that county finances are on the right track, but to deny there was ever a mess or that it was somehow created through our reporting is more than we could abide. We stand by all our original stories, keeping the citizens and taxpayers informed.