‘Frustrated’ with Clay County Commission, state auditor posts open letter to residents

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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. – A letter from Missouri’s top auditor, written directly to the citizens of Clay County, backs many of the concerns FOX4 uncovered through almost two years of investigations.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who's running as a Democrat in the 2020 Missouri Gubernatorial race, posted the open letter Monday on her website, writing, “this open letter is the first of its kind.”

FOX4 traveled to Jefferson City in February 2018 to show Galloway what our investigation uncovered: many examples of “misuse of taxpayers money.”

Since then, almost 10,000 Clay County residents signed a petition requesting Galloway’s office to audit the Clay County government.

Galloway said in the more than 30 other audits of local governments conducted by her office, the usual process is that auditors ask for information, local governments comply and an audit is conducted.

Her letter argues that’s not happening in Clay County.

"I know you are frustrated. I am too," she wrote. "Based on what we have experienced to date, this may not be the last roadblock we will face in Clay County. But I am committed to the promise I made to petitioners — we will get you answers. You deserve nothing less."

Clay County issued a statement in response to Galloway's letter, saying in part:

"The State Auditor has been welcomed to Clay County, provided dedicated office space which she has allowed to sit vacant for months, provided 300,000 lines of financial data and multiple tours of county facilities.

"Clay County believes Galloway should conduct her constitutional duties -- auditing financial actions of public entities -- not trying to take over the management decisions for Clay County."

Quick timeline/recap:

July 2018: Citizens delivered thousands of signatures requesting audit

December 2018: Formal audit is launched

January 2019: Clay County Commission sues the auditor’s office

September 2019: Auditor is “waiting for a resolution to the commission’s lawsuit;” the audit “cannot move forward” without access to county information.

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