The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

July 10, 2012

Jasper County Commission to seek meeting with Sheriff Archie Dunn

Handling of sheriff's budget continues to be contested topic

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Jasper County Commission will seek a meeting with Sheriff Archie Dunn to discuss how to pay more than $120,000 in bills the sheriff’s Law Enforcement Sales Tax account currently does not have the money to cover.

Commissioners raised the issue at their regular meeting on Tuesday. Richard Webster, county auditor, said less than $75 remains in the account and his office has received bills of $121,528. He said the sheriff later this month will receive $261,322 in LEST funds allocated by the commission, “but there’s also going to be recurring expenses that need to be paid.”

A similar issue occurred two months ago and the commission advanced LEST funds to cover the gap, subtracting them from future allocations. The office is to receive just over $3.1 million in LEST funds this year, allocated in equal monthly installments.

Webster said he sent Dunn an e-mail about the issue a week ago. He said funds allocated should be enough to cover expenses, “but it’s a cash flow problem.”

“I don’t want to pick and choose what gets paid, and I don’t want to be accused of micro-managing the sheriff’s budget,” he said.

The sheriff was unavailable Tuesday. Bill Fleischaker, attorney for Dunn, said the auditor “certainly is micromanaging the sheriff’s budget”.

“He’s cut up the entire year’s budget into 12 equal segments that he hands out once a month,” he said. “Expenses don’t come in that way.”

He said the earlier “remedy” subtracted  money from this month’s funds, making the problem worse.

“There is a surplus there, but they refuse to use that. It’s never been done that way, but this is an election year,” Fleischaker said.

Webster said the practice of handing the LEST money out in monthly increments started in 2011 and was the decision of the County Commission. He said other departments are not under a similar funding structure “because they don’t have money coming from several different resources.”

“It seemed like the logical way to do it; some months the tax will produce more and some less,” he said. “He’s guaranteed the $3.1 million.”

Any appropriations from the fund above that amount would be up to the commission, the auditor said. He agreed there is a budgeted reserve in the fund, including some money that’s being held back for repairs to the county jail.

The commission and Dean Dankelson , county prosecutor, have asked the Missouri attorney general’s office to look into whether Dunn has used the resources of his office for his re-election campaign. The office is, officially, looking into the allegations, Nanci Gonder, spokesman for Attorney General Chris Koster.

She said they became involved after David Dally, presiding circuit judge, signed an order from the prosecutor’s office naming the state office as special prosecutor.

“This just formalizes the process,” Gonder aid.

Without the order, the state would not have authority in the case, said Norman Rouse, county counselor to the commission.

In a letter to Koster’s office, Dankelson asked the state to investigate whether  county funds are being used for Dunn’s re-election campaign, citing allegation that a county deputy worked on Dunn’s campaign website on county time, that the sheriff had county vehicles positioned near his campaign tent at a recent event, and that he distributed T-shirts to schoolchildren graduating from an anti-drug program that had a “Re-Elect Archie Dunn for Sheriff” logo on the back. Some of the allegations were made by supporters of Dunn’s opponents in the August primary election.

One of the allegations focused on coins the sheriff’s campaign distributed  to promote breast cancer awareness and raise money for a local breast cancer program. The cost of the coins — $3,303 — was mistakenly turned in to the county for payment, according to Dunn.

Rouse rejected a check sent as reimbursement, because it came from the Jasper County Sheriff Chaplain’s Benevolent Account. Rouse said he has asked the Fleischaker to provide more information on the fund. Though private donations provide revenues for the fund, Rouse said it is a county fund because receipts and expenditures are reported to the county and a check was signed by a county employee.

Fleischaker said the bill was mistakenly submitted, and that the sheriff’s campaign “was just raising money for a charity.” But he said he is gathering the information requested by Rouse.

Lawsuit

 Sheriff Archie Dunn is suing the auditor and commissioners over a variety of issues, including expenditures of LEST funds.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Britain Easter Pilgri_Cast.jpg SLIDESHOW: Good Friday observances around the world Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified. Here are some photos from Good Friday commemorations around the world.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missouri House votes to expand sales tax exemptions

    Pizza parlors, doughnut shops and even convenience stores all could be in line for a tax break on the food that they make and sell as a result of a measure moving through the Missouri Legislature.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos