Floyd County votes ‘no confidence’ in auditor after audit finds he’d accrued thousands in penalties, interest to IRS

Concerns over fines accrued by the Floyd County Auditor's office boil over

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) – Concerns over fines accrued by the Floyd County Auditor’s Office are boiling over.

A state report found more than $21,000 in unpaid fines and interest had built up in the auditor’s office before the county stepped in. But even with the county’s involvement, a resolution to this may not come quickly.

“It’s a mess,” said Dale Bagshaw, Floyd County Councilmember at-large.

Concerns are popping up in Floyd County over issues with auditor Scott Clark.

A report from the State Board of Accounts shows the county paid more than $21,000 in accruing penalties and interest to the IRS, stemming from late payments of tax filings that Clark had built up from filing an employer’s tax return after its due date.

The county paid with the understanding that Clark would pay them back, Bagshaw said, which hasn’t happened. And with little communication from Clark, many in the county are concerned.

“I don’t doubt that he’s competent to do the job,” Bagshaw said. “He’s just been negligent to do the job, especially with these filings, court filings and federal tax filings.”

Over the years, Bagshaw said he’s defended Clark over concerns that he wasn’t in the office as often as he should be. Now, he said, it’s Clark’s staff members in the auditor’s office, not Clark himself, who are stepping up and working with the county to address issues found in the state report.

In that same report, a letter from Clark to the SBOA said, “employee turnover has led to less experienced employees who contributed to this incident.” The letter also said, “No laws were broken in this incident. No one lied. Nothing was stolen. The incident was an error in performing the duties in the scope of the auditor’s office.”

During Tuesday night’s county council meeting, Bagshaw said he asked for councilmembers to take a vote of no confidence in Clark’s job performance. The vote is mostly symbolic, but shows the county is concerned over the issues raised by the SBOA report. The vote to declare no confidence in Clark was unanimous.

“We elect these people to do their job,” Floyd County taxpayer Mike Schreiweis said. “They ought to do it, they ought to follow up on it. And I think the county council did the right thing by a no-confidence vote.”

Any other employee would have been fired for this kind of action, Bagshaw said, but being an elected official, Clark can’t be compelled to leave office.

“It’s basically out of our hands at this point,” Bagshaw said. “But, more than anything, why we decided to do the vote of no confidence was to tell the community that we don’t condone this behavior.”

The state’s report and findings have been sent to the Indiana Attorney General.

Attempts to reach Floyd County Auditor Scott Clark were not successful.

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