After signatures verified on petition, state to audit Clay County government spending

CLAY COUNTY, Mo. — A group of concerned Clay County citizens have gotten what they’ve been working toward for months: an audit on the county government.

FOX4 first reported in February about the formation of a non-partisan group of citizens with questions about what they considered wasteful county spending and internal administrative procedures that don’t protect taxpayers.

In June, that group submitted more than 9,100 signatures to the state, seeking an audit of Clay County operations. The citizens group said every mayor in Clay County signed the petition as well as about 70 current or former elected leaders.

On Friday, Steph Deidrick, a spokesperson for the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, confirmed the agency has received word the signatures have been verified, and there are more than enough to conduct an audit.

Now, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office will work toward scheduling that audit.

Galloway told FOX4 in June she will examine contract bidding processes, professional service contracts and county credit card spending. Those are among the concerns with which whistle-blowers have called her office to register complaints.

Diedrick said they expect to start the audit before the end of the year. It should take about one year to complete, she said.

The cost to taxpayers to conduct the audit is approximately $100,000 to $150,000, she said. That was listed on the petition, so those who signed would know the cost to taxpayers.

Petition organizers say they hope to change county practices that they believe have resulted in wasteful spending, higher taxes and big pay raises for county commissioners and administrators.