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Wicomico County Executive Responds to Audit Report
Salisbury, MD … Last Thursday, DelmarvaNow online published a redacted copy of a report prepared by an auditor retained by the County Council to investigate an allegation of fraud by an employee. The report accurately states that I denied his request to continue his unauthorized interviews because he was threatening County employees with accusations of criminal behavior.
I strenuously objected to the County Council’s retention of an outside auditor regarding this matter for two reasons - - (1) it is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars because there is no evidence of fraud (in fact, the evidence is to the contrary) and (2) the tactics utilized in performing the investigation were inappropriate and harassing.
Stripped to its bare essentials, the only issue to be investigated was an allegation that an employee allegedly did not authorize another employee to type her name on a letter. This same employee claims she did not know about the letter; however, the facts clearly indicate otherwise.
There are two important points.
First, there is no dispute that I had the authority to make the salary adjustment and thus, there has not been a misappropriation of County taxpayer funds.
Second, it is equally clear that the employee’s allegation of alleged fraud has no merit. The employee’s email account has been searched. The letter of recommendation at issue and supporting data are in the employee’s email account and the employee acknowledged receipt of the letter at issue. The employee clearly had knowledge about the recommendation because she specifically acknowledged receipt of the letter.
Inexplicably, the County Council’s investigator apparently didn’t undertake such a basic review to determine whether the employee making the allegation had received the letter.
In addition, although all County personnel report to me as the County Executive, I was not notified that the auditor would be interviewing County employees during work hours. I was summoned when the auditor appeared unannounced and began verbally harassing my employee who had no representation present. I advised him to leave the County office building.
I reiterate, I’m extremely disappointed with the County Council for wasting taxpayer dollars on an issue where there was no evidence whatsoever that substantiated it. This entire matter could have been resolved through a simple review of the employee’s email who claimed she had no knowledge of the letter. Instead, it would appear that there are some members on the Council who are willing to waste your hard earned dollars in order to advance their own political agenda. That is not in keeping with the best interests of the citizens of Wicomico County.
Unfortunately, the true cost to you, the taxpayers, is significantly higher than the figure quoted by the County Council President.
Please find attached email evidence to prove the employee listed above was aware of and complicit in the letter in question