Clay County group collects signatures at poll locations to petition for government spending audit

CLAY COUNTY, Mo. -- A man who spent decades in local government used that experience to take his mission to the streets on Election Day.

Former Clay County Commissioner Jay Lawson used Election Day as a chance to add names to his list.

“I don’t know why it’s happening the way it is," he said. "If they can get away with it, I think they’re going to continue to get away with it. I’m out here collecting signatures for people to sign a petition to ask the Missouri State Auditor to do an audit of the county government procedures.”

Lawson said things started going downhill a few years back, and he claims Clay County citizens are vocal about their government grievances.

“A lot of the people are aware of what’s going on," he said. "They understand the expenditures going on, the $600 coffee pot, the horse barn that nobody seems to be able to find out how that was bid out, how it was bid out, how much was spent on it.”

So far they’ve collected more than 1,000 signatures, including the ones Tuesday that filled the lines on his clipboard.

“I want good government for the people, for my grandkids, for my great-grandbaby that I just got,” Lawson said.

Mother Melissa Testrake said she wants the same. As her 7-year-old son watched, she signed the petition on the way out.

“I just know people aren’t happy, and it’s important that we are making sure our government is working appropriately and correctly,” she said.

The group will continue to collect signatures over the next few months; they’re due to the state next July.