May 23, 2006

Jasper County Faces More Financial Challenges

Sources have advised the TWG that Susan Raynor, recently hired Chief Financial Officer, will be leaving after working for Jasper County approximately 6 months. Ms. Raynor came into a serious financial situation according to the audit for the year ending on 12-31-04. The audit report was highly critical, indicating that the personnel on board then could not handle the financial posting and reporting. Ms. Raynor was hired because she had experience in the accounting and auditing fields and was a Certified Public Accountant. None of the personnel criticized in the audit report were ever dismissed; but instead continued in their positions doing virtually the same jobs they had been doing.

Ms. Raynor has tendered her resignation effective as of June 2, 2006.

During her time as CFO, Ms. Raynor had prepared several budget amendments to move funds to areas that were considerably under-budgeted. Apparently there were several areas that were not budgeted or funded properly during the period that Interim County Manager Leonard Myers prepared the budget. Mr. Myers was reportedly a “budget expert” according to one commissioner. Eventually some BOC members realized that the landfill budget had been “plugged”. This one entry resulted in a $250,000 revenue shortfall. During the same budget process, there was an expected $400,000 SPLOST shortfall that was also under-budgeted. These problems resulted in the budget cuts that have been roundly criticized by the effected agencies so the “contingency fund” could be increased to cover the shortfalls.

TWG expects the upcoming audit for the 12-31-05 year to show little improvement over the last one because no financial personnel changes were made during 2005. Sources have indicated Ms. Raynor was not being supported in many of the changes she felt were necessary to make in the office to get things corrected and operating smoothly. Ms. Raynor did seem to get a handle on all the late payments that were being made on county bills and have them up to date. The recommendations by the audit firm need to be implemented to correct the financial situation in the office. Those recommendations were more than just hiring a CFO.

County Manager, Greg Williams, is also a CPA and has financial experience according to his resume. He should be qualified to perform the CFO’s duties and keep the bills paid timely and other necessary financial obligations. There are under utilized employees in the BOC office that should be able to help along with personnel that seem to have an abundant amount of “free time” to attend to personal business. They could help pick up the slack left by Ms. Raynor’s resignation. This would allow considerable savings in payroll expense for the county.


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