Bowen: Every penny has been accounted for

Published 10:07am Thursday, February 27, 2014

A dollar can go a long way.

A dollar can also go unaccounted for.

Questions swirled about the old Elmore County Courthouse Courtroom Monday afternoon when new County Administrator Grace McDuffie could not provide a balance of money collected from a $1 probate office copy fee.

The $1 fee was instituted in 1999 when it was passed by the state legislature instituting a $1 per page copy fee for county probate offices. Monies collected from the fee by the Elmore County Probate Judge’s Office were to be set aside into a separate discretionary account.

Current Probate Judge John Enslen alluded to the fee when he described the local legislation he introduced to use the money collected from it to support a temporary full-service satellite probate office in Millbrook.

After introducing the idea, Commissioner Joe Faulk asked McDuffie how much was in the fund.

It was also the same question among the public sitting in attendance of the commission meeting Monday night.

This is where the confusion began.

Apparently McDuffie’s predecessors did not adhere to the legislation in establishing a separate account for the money former probate judge Jimmy Stubbs and Enslen were sending to the administrator’s office.

“I don’t believe there has been any misappropriation of funds here,” Enslen said. “I think it’s just a simple mistake which can be solved by going back through the checks written for that specific account by Judge Stubbs and myself.”

Enslen and McDuffie met after the meeting and seemed to have solved any confusion which may have been evident during the meeting.

Elmore County Commission Chairman David Bowen said there is no missing money and “every penny has been accounted for.”

“I think it was just a misunderstanding on the judge’s part,” Bowen said. “There is a $1 copy per page account and it has been accounted for. Our administrator assured me that every penny has been accounted for.”

So how much is in the fund?

“I don’t know. I have not asked her,” Bowen said. “But nothing is unaccounted for.”

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