Organizations and agencies that receive large sums of money from county coffers will be more accountable to the public under the new requirements implemented by the Jones County Board of Supervisors.
These entities will be required to submit financial statements every six months after first answering a few questions that have been submitted by Executive Director and Council Counsel Danielle Ashley and CFO Charles Miller.
Each agency should describe the internal controls in place to prevent fraud, the employees who manage the funds (and proof of their surety), a copy of their most recent audit, and a list of employees with access to the credit cards of the agency. agency and what monitoring practices are in place to prevent fraud. These responses are expected by October 4.
The investigation follows the recent arrest of former Jones County Fire Council Chairman Lee Garick, 42, who is accused of embezzling funds from the fire departments and volunteer firefighters in Calhoun, where he was once a chef. The investigation is ongoing, but it has been reported that he fraudulently spent up to $ 400,000 or more.
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Other agencies that will be accountable to the board and the amounts they receive from the county include the Jones County Economic Development Authority ($ 650,000), the Laurel-Jones County Library ($ 531,220), the Navigable Pat Harrison ($ 478,292), Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport ($ 245,840), Pine Belt Mental Health ($ 195,517) and the Magnolia Center / South Mississippi Fair Association ($ 180,000).
At its last meeting, the Jones County Fire Council submitted a pair of proposals on how the service can proceed with increased accountability. One of them included the appointment of a treasurer for the council, who will be linked and accountable to the executive committee of the council. Any payment request must be accompanied by an invoice and monthly statements will be provided to supervisors. No board member would have a debit or credit card.
The other proposal asks council to distribute separate checks to each of the 19 fire departments in the Jones County Fire Department and have a bonded treasurer with each department. The checks and balances system would include monthly statements to the board’s executive committee and to the supervisory board. If a department does not do this, it will not receive a check.
Lawyer Risher Caves was in the process of revising the 2014 contract between the fire department and the board of directors “to completely overhaul the way our money is managed,” wrote the chairman of the County Fire Council. Jones, Gordon Pitts, in a letter to Fire Coordinator Kyle Brooks. presented to the board. The goal is to “make sure all the bases are covered to make sure our financial responsibilities are covered as well as our other responsibilities.” Each and every member of this council takes this matter with the utmost importance as they work diligently to complete this contract and continue to serve the citizens of Jones County. “
The Jones County Fire Council receives funds from the county, local water departments and money from state remittances.
Supervisors have taken the proposals under advisement and plan to discuss them further at the next board meeting, set for 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 4 at the Jones County Courthouse in Laurel.
Pitts discovered the missing funds with fellow council member Mike Hodge and then relayed their findings to Brooks, who contacted the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, council spokeswoman Dana Bumgardner said.
Now the JCSD, the state auditor’s office and the Department of Homeland Security are involved in the investigation. Garick remains in the Jones County Adult Detention Center on $ 60,000 bond.
Read related: Former Calhoun Fire Chief arrested for embezzlement of Jones County Fire Council