Johnson County Auditor spent more than $60,000 without Supervisors’ approval

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett recently spent more than $60,000 on new electronic equipment, a much more costly purchase than the Board of Supervisors approved last year.

During Thursday’s meeting, Supervisor Janelle Rettig revealed Slockett bought 70 computers, 70 printers, and 70 scanners that the board denied during last year’s budget process. Supervisors approved the purchase of only five new computers for election precincts.

Supervisor Rod Sullivan said the auditor’s claim, which officials approved a few weeks ago, was listed as “Precinct Atlas” and came from Cerro Gordo County. Sullivan said he assumed the purchase was something Cerro Gordo developed and the money was being used for software or licensing rights.

Sullivan called the maneuver “misleading” and “sneaky,” saying the invoice should have simply said “computers” and Slockett should have purchased the equipment from a local vendor.

Cutting back in other areas to help recover the costs of the electronics will be “almost impossible,” Sullivan said, and officials don’t even know if the county’s information-technology specialists can service the equipment.

“It’s a real affront to our processes, first of all,” Sullivan said. “Second of all, it’s incredibly costly.”
Rettig and Sullivan voted against approving this week’s claims following the incident.

“We don’t have control measures to stop elected officials and department heads from violating the budget,” Rettig said during the meeting. “Until we get some control measures in place, I don’t think we should be paying any more bills. Obviously, people can spend money how they want, not how it was budgeted.”

Sullivan said he hopes Slockett attends the board’s meeting next week, where he plans to talk to him.

— by Sam Lane

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