The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

New state auditor lists same old problems in 2012, 2013 sheriff's audits 

State Auditor Mike Harmon took office in January FRANKFORT, Ky. – State Auditor Mike Harmon today released the audit of the sheriff’s settlement-2013 taxes for Lawrence County Sheriff Garrett Roberts. State law requires the auditor to annually audit the accounts of each county sheriff. In compliance with this law, the auditor issues two sheriff’s reports each year: one reporting on the audit of the sheriff’s tax account, and the other reporting on the audit of the fee account used to operate the office.

Auditing standards require the auditor’s letter to communicate whether the sheriff’s settlement presents fairly the taxes charged, credited and paid in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

The sheriff’s settlement is prepared on the regulatory basis, which is described in the auditor’s opinion letter. Regulatory basis reporting for the sheriff’s settlement is an acceptable reporting methodology, and this reporting methodology is followed for all 120 sheriff settlements in Kentucky.

The sheriff’s financial statement fairly presents the taxes charged, credited and paid, for the period, April 16, 2013 through April 15, 2014 in conformity with the regulatory basis of accounting.

As part of the audit process, the auditor must comment on non-compliance with laws, regulations, contracts and grants. The auditor must also comment on material weaknesses involving the internal control over financial operations and reporting.

The audit contains the following comments:

The sheriff’s office lacks adequate segregation of duties.

The sheriff’s office lacks adequate segregation of duties. The bookkeeper collects and deposits tax receipts, records all transactions, prepares the monthly report, and reconciles the bank account. By not segregating these duties, there is an increased risk of misappropriation of assets either by error or fraud. Good internal controls dictate the same employee should not handle, record, and reconcile receipts. If these duties cannot be segregated, the sheriff should perform the following compensating controls to help offset this weakness:

· Recount and make the daily deposits.
· Agree daily tax collection total to the receipts ledger and deposit slip.
· Agree monthly tax reports to receipts ledger and disbursements ledger.
· Review the monthly bank reconciliations.

Sheriff’s response: No response.

The sheriff did not remit interest payments to the school and fee account monthly.

The sheriff did not distribute interest earned on tax collections to the school or the fee account on a monthly basis. The sheriff earned $964 of interest in his 2013 tax account. KRS 134.140(2) requires the sheriff to pay monthly “….that part of the investment earnings for the month which are attributable to the investment of school taxes.” According to KRS 134.140(4), the balance of investment income should be paid to the sheriff’s operating account. The sheriff should distribute the investment earnings at the same time as monthly tax collections. Based on the amount of interest earned, the sheriff owes $525 to the school district and $439 to the fee account. We recommend the sheriff comply with KRS 134.140 by remitting the interest due to the school and fee account on a monthly basis.

Sheriff’s response: No response.

Certificates of delinquency should be promptly turned over to the county clerk.

Sheriff Garrett Roberts KRS 134.122(1)(a) states that the sheriff shall file all delinquent tax claims remaining in his possession with the county clerk within three months and fifteen days from the date the taxes were due. The delinquent unmined coal tax transfer was not completed until February 23, 2015; however, collections began in May of 2014. The bookkeeper had concerns with the unmined coal tax collections and the corresponding tax account and postponed disbursing final reports and transferring delinquent tax bills.

The resulting delay put the sheriff’s office in non-compliance with KRS 134.122(1)(a). According to KRS 134.122(1)(d), the non-compliance also holds the sheriff liable on his bond for the aggregate amount of the tax claims not filed with the clerk. It is recommended that the sheriff’s office adhere to KRS 134.122(1)(a) by following the time frame stated for the transfer of delinquent taxes.

Sheriff’s response: No response.

The sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.
The audit report can be found on the auditor’s website.

Harmon Releases Audit of Lawrence County Sheriff’s Tax Settlement for 2013

This audit was exactly like the 2012 audit above. The sheriff has routinely received the complaints listed because, he says,  of the lack of manpower in his offices and the delay in getting information back from the state on coal severance taxes.

Trump allies sidelined in Kentucky delegate battle

 Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell

LEXINGTON, Ky — Mitch McConnell squared up against Donald Trump for control of the Kentucky delegation that will help pick the Republican presidential nominee, and McConnell won.

The Senate Majority Leader, who hails from Louisville, heads the slate of 25 delegates picked by the Kentucky GOP at its state convention on Saturday. A majority of Kentucky Republicans backed Trump in their March 5 caucus. But party leaders retain control of a majority of the state's delegation, requiring state convention attendees to approve the list of names on an up or down vote.

This proved bad news for Trump. Many Republicans said the slate picked Saturday excluded supporters of the billionaire businessman. If the Republican front-runner doesn't win a majority of state delegates by the July national convention, the Kentucky delegation could vote for someone else. They're only bound to follow caucus-goers' wishes on the convention's first ballot. After that, it could be anyone's game.

The Republican candidates are fighting for delegates in a state by state battle that will shape what could be a contested national convention.

Trump supporters were livid at the party's delegate engineering.

Tim Nolan, a former judge and current chairman of Trump's campaign in Campbell County, joined a group of Republicans that tried to remove McConnell as a delegate.

"There's a concerted effort to try to keep Trump from gaining his rightful place as our nominee and he may not be supported by these delegates even if he was our nominee," Nolan said.

Perry Brantley, Trump supporter and state convention delegate from Barren County, didn’t leave the state convention happy – but he didn’t expect to. Party insiders engineered the delegate-selection process to freeze out ardent Trump allies and squelch dissent, he said. Exhibit A: They refused to disclose the names on the delegate slate until just before the convention vote.

“It smells," he said. “It might be the way the party has it, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

The Kentucky Republican Party has yet to release its list of delegates, only reading them aloud at the convention. The party won't release the list for 24 to 48 hours to "fact-check" names, the Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Mac Brown said.

Many in Northern Kentucky also felt excluded. None of the 25 delegates are from Northern Kentucky, but some of the alternate delegates are.

"They're McConnell people," said Pat O'Reagan, a Boone County Republican.

The committee to nominate the slate included longtime McConnell aide Terry Carmack and former Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson.

"Just by looking at that kind gives the impression that there are already backdoor deals being made," said Phyllis Sparks, an alternate delegate from Boone County.

This contrasts with McConnell's speech before the convention, where he assured everyone nothing was being decided behind closed doors.

“I’m amused by the suggestion there’s a group to deliver the nomination,” McConnell said. “If there was such a group, I would be a part of it.”

Many of the delegates, when asked by The Enquirer on Saturday, wouldn't say who they would support in a contested convention. The 25 picked at the convention will join the 18 already selected in the six congressional district conventions and three delegates who automatically get chosen by virtue of being party leaders.

Representatives for Trump, Cruz and Kasich were at the Lexington Convention Center on Saturday speaking with delegates. Those from the Cruz and Kasich campaigns praised the delegate list. Kasich's Kentucky director Joel Adams said he didn't hear any Trump supporters among those chosen.

"For the most part, everybody in there is focused on 'How do we beat Hillary Clinton?'," Adams said. "And I think that serves the message the Kasich campaign is putting out right now."

Kasich wouldn't likely get the support of Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon, one of the delegates. The top two candidates are most likely to get his vote. He said he personally supports Cruz.

"I think whoever wins needs to be the first or second number of delegates," Harmon said. "I'm not going to say I would completely eliminate that. Just for the sanity of the party, I think it's important we nominate somebody that has a majority share of the delegates."

Gov. Matt Bevin is one of the delegates and wouldn't commit.

Bevin, in his speech, warned the crowd not to give in to flashiness and that “all that glitters is not gold.” Instead, he urged delegates to support a candidate who has shown consistency.

After his speech, he wouldn’t tell the press who he’d vote for in a contested convention. He denied that his speech about consistency was a subtle warning against Trump.

“I was making no (endorsement) one way or another,” Bevin said backstage. “I was encouraging people to do their homework, to not be titillated by one way or the other.”

The different factions – establishment, tea party, Donald Trump supporters, Ted Cruz supporters – of the Republican Party were present Saturday.

Donald Trump won the Kentucky’s March 5 GOP caucus, getting 36 percent of the vote to Ted Cruz’s 32 percent. Marco Rubio and John Kasich split the remainder. Based on voting results, front-runner Trump won 17 out of Kentucky’s 46 delegates in the caucus. Cruz won 15. Rubio and Kasich each won seven. The split represents the ongoing battle in the Kentucky Republican Party. Saturday's convention was just the most recent fight.

"It's blood sport," said Steve Frank, a Covington City commissioner and delegate from Kenton County. "It's a boxing match. It's a football game. I can tell you this, the game won't be over after today. This is just a continuation of a fight that's been brewing for the last six years."

By Scott Wartman and Jeremy Fugleberg
The Kentucky Enquirer

State hires investigator to look into alleged corruption in Beshear administration

Kentucky Press News Service

 Kenneth F. BohacFRANKFORT – Finance and Administration Secretary William M. Landrum III Thursday announced the appointment of Kenneth F. Bohac as the Finance Cabinet’s Inspector General, effective May 2. Bohac has a 21-year history with the U.S. Marshals Service, most recently serving as U.S. Marshal for Central District of Illinois.

The appointment follows the recent announcement by Gov. Matt Bevin that his administration would undertake a broad investigation into evidence and allegations of widespread public corruption in Kentucky’s executive branch. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Bevin read a public statement in which he alleged the Steve Beshear administration had pressured employees for political contributions, awarded contracts to friends and inappropriately handled claims for workers' compensation.

“I am extremely pleased that Ken Bohac has accepted this important position within the Finance Cabinet,” Landrum said. “His proven experience as acriminal investigator along with his background in accounting and contract administration will be valuable in his role as Inspector General.”

In discussing his appointment, Bohac said in a statement, “It is with great honor that I assume the position of Inspector General for the Secretary of Finance and look forward to serving the people of the Commonwealth and ensure an honest and transparent government.”

Prior to joining the U.S. Marshals Service, Bohac worked as an accountant and financial systems analyst for several private companies. Bohac was born in Chicago, and received his B.A. in Accounting from Western Illinois University in 1977, and an MBA from Lewis University in 1988.

 
 

Postal prices drop for first time in about 100 years

Post offices across the country have reduced First Class Mail prices.

According to United States Post Office Corp Communications spokesperson Susan W. Wright, located in Lexington, Kentucky, this price reduction is the first one to occur in nearly 100 years.

“The price rollback was mandated by the Postal Regulatory Commission. It is estimated this price change will have a $2 billion negative impact on the Postal Service revenue,” she said.
“It has been 97 years since the price of a stamp was reduced. 

The Postal Service anticipates customers will continue to recognize the value of the mail in today’s vibrant communication and package delivery environment.”

According to a press release issued by the USPS in Washington, D.C., the price reduction was effective on April 10.

“The PRC granted an exigent surcharge beginning in January 2014 on mailing products and services totaling $4.6 billion to recover for the massive volume and revenue losses resulting from the Great Recession. However, this amount only partially offsets Postal Service revenue losses - which the Postal Service estimates exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” the press release stated.

“The PRC is required to review the market-dominant regulatory system to determine whether it is achieving the statutory objectives mandated by Congress.”

The press release also stated that the USPS does not receive tax dollars “for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”

The new First Class Mail prices are now:

• Letter (1 ounce): 47 cents (was 49 cents before April 10);
• Letters additional ounces: 21 cents (was 22 cents);
• Letters to all international destinations: $1.15 (was $1.20);
• Postcards: 34 cents (was 35 cents)
complete listing of all new prices are available on www.ups.com.

 

By DEBBIE BATTEIGER
Murray Ledger & Times

 
 

Alison Lundergan Grimes on Voter Issues

By John Gregory | KET

It only took a couple of centuries to break with tradition, but Kentuckians no longer have to complete a paper form at their county clerk’s office to be registered to vote. Now they can simply go to GoVoteKY.com on their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

“Unfortunately, our elections move at the speed of paper,” jokes Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. “That’s the reason why this online portal for voter registration is huge, because we are trying to take the paper out of the process, to allow folks not only the convenience that they demand but to remove the possibility for human error that exists with paper.”

ALLISON GRIMESGrimes appeared on KET’s Connections with Renee Shaw to explain the new registration system and discuss other voting issue

GoVoteKY.com allows individuals to register to vote or to amend a registration to update voter information or party affiliation. Grimes says the primary difference between the website and the paper form, which will still be available at county clerks’ offices, is that online users must enter their Social Security number to verify their identities. She says Kentucky is the 31st state to employonline registration.

This week, Grimes will complete a tour of college campuses around the state to promote the portal and to encourage students to register to vote so they can participate in this year’s elections. She says turnout for the gubernatorial election last November was only 30 percent of registered voters. The secretary says she hopes the website will help improve statewide turnout.

“Our democracy, I believe, is truly at its best when everybody participates, and we have got to take measures to increase our participation,” Grimes says. “This is the first step, making it easy for people to register.”

A Push for Early Voting

The second step, according to Grimes, is to allow for early voting. She endorsed a bill in the just-completed legislative session that would have allowed people to go to their county clerk’s office to vote anytime within 12 days of an election. In essence, it would be like casting an absentee ballot, but without the need for an excuse. Grimes says early voting gives individuals with family obligations or long work shifts greater flexibility to participate in the democratic process.

House Bill 290, sponsored by Rep. Reggie Meeks (D-Louisville), passed the lower chamber, 57-37, but then died in the Senate. Grimes says the Kentucky County Clerks Association opposed the measure because they feared it would create extra work for their staffs. The secretary says spreading the balloting out over 12 days would prevent a crush of voters at any one time, and she says most clerks’ offices are already open on Saturdays. Grimes says she wouldn’t have endorsed the legislation if it resulted in an unfunded mandate on the clerks.

“The hope is that our clerks will realize [that] increasing participation in this election… is well worth any added additional costs,” Grimes says. “If we are going to increase participation in this state, we have to give Kentuckians a fighting chance to actually make it to polls.”

Online voting is another option that is being considered by some election officials, but Grimes doesn’t see that becoming a widespread reality any time soon. Before she completes her second term, the secretary does hope to allow military personnel and other Kentuckians stationed overseas to return their absentee ballots electronically.

Voting Rights for Former Felons

Another issue of keen interest to Grimes is the restoration of voting rights for non-violent felons who have completed their sentences. House Bill 70, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville), and Senate Bill 299, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), proposed different processes for restoring those rights, but both measures failed to reach final passage this session.

“At the core of this are over 100,000 individuals across the commonwealth who have made a mistake in their past, they’ve paid their debt to society, [and] they shouldn’t be sentenced to a lifetime of silence,” Grimes says. “They should be able to participate in our democracy.”

The secretary, who is a Democrat, applauds the passage of a bill to allow individuals convicted of certain non-violent, Class D felonies to have their records expunged. That law requires individuals to wait five years after the completion of their sentence and probation before they can apply tothe courts to have their original sentence vacated.

Grimes says she hopes the restoration of voting rights could occur automatically once a non-violent felon has fulfilled the terms of his or her punishment. She says she sees the issue as a matter of empathy, and says she will continue to support voting rights restoration for a wider range of former felons in future sessions.

Connections airs:

Fridays at 5:00/4:00 pm CT on KET2

Sundays at 1:30/12:30 pm CT on KET