Audit revealed there was ‘no money missing and the other findings were correctable’ Greg Caudill, Auditor
“My reputation has been attacked, my good name dirtied..."
Bailey Believed the Unsigned Order Cut Off at the Knees her Making any Meaningful Defense
Her name is Charlotte Bailey. She would tell you she is pretty well known throughout the county. She was proud to tell us she’s been around this county most all of her life.
She tells the newspaper she has worked in the Sheriff’s Department, she has worked at the bank, she was formerly the County Treasurer, and she is now the Deputy County Judge/Executive. She is proud to relate she has performed many jobs and worn quite a few hats around Breathitt.
Just about as soon as we sat down with her and began taking notes, she related to us that she has held numerous positions of trust, both publicly and in the private sector. She would maintain her reputation was exemplary before it was subjected to what she considered an open and vicious attacked. She is fighting mad about it.
“You know I have worked through numerous audits over the years and I have always done well,” Judge Bailey tells the Times-Voice. “I have never had a mark against me for any of the work I have performed or had it said I performed any of my job responsibilities poorly. I have been entrusted with a great deal of responsibility and have always conducted my professional and even my personal matters with integrity and as honestly as I am capable. I believe I am known for that. I am right proud of it.”
Judge Bailey contacted the newspaper and requested to talk with us on Monday morning. She asked us to bring along a Freedom of Information Act request with which we complied.
“I’ve been attacked. My reputation has been attacked, my good name dirtied, I haven’t slept in two nights. Frankly, someone has gone about the county telling stories on me and the job I did when County Treasurer. Those stories are inaccurate and full of misstatements. I have come to this newspaper hoping for the truth to be reported.”
“I have been unfairly treated here. I am not going to stand for it.”
“There’s a story circulating accusing me of having been wasteful or careless with public money and having poorly performed my job as a former treasurer for this county. That is simply untrue. I never even got the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the audit or review any of the bank records used to support the audit findings.”
We thought we would get the story straight from the horse’s mouth, so the newspaper called the person who was retained to perform the audit the contents of which has caused the controversy. His name, Greg Caudill, and he was the author of the audit’s findings in question here.
We asked him, as the author of the report, whether the report was intended to hold up Judge Bailey to scorn or ridicule. He told us, “certainly not.” We asked him if he deemed the report was negative in its referencing Judge Bailey or her performance in her prior post. His answer was a perfunctory, “No.”
Mr. Caudill told the Times-Voice that he didn’t consider the audit to be a poor reflection on Charlotte Bailey. He said the audit pointed out some things everyone could be doing better, but any thing he noted within his report was correctable.
We asked him specifically about his findings, and asked if he could boiler-plate them for us. He told the newspaper that basically “(I found) there was no money missing and the other findings were correctable.” We asked him if he had seen some of the reports interpreting the audit’s findings as being scathing in regard to Judge Bailey and he said he had.
We asked Mr. Caudill, “So, do those reports grossly misrepresent the findings of your audit?” His response was, “I would prefer not to answer that question.”
We asked local attorney Derek Campbell to read the audit report. We then asked for his impressions as a lawyer with experience in these type matters.
“To me, what Mr Caudill said in his audit report was that most of these errors were ultimately a product of the Fiscal Court's failing to have proper procedures in place,” Attorney Campbell told us. We then asked Judge Bailey about those procedures and why they weren’t in place.
She told the Times-Voice, “As an employee of the Fiscal Court I can only operate as the court allows, for better or worse. Why they hadn’t adopted those procedures was beyond me.”
Judge Bailey’s reading of the audit's findings mirrored those of Mr. Campbell. She told the Times-Voice that “the audit report indicated numerous errors which were the result of the Fiscal Court’s failure to implement proper procedures. Several of the findings related to duties which were not assigned to me as County Treasurer.”
As for the absence of bank records regarding the audit, Judge Bailey tells the Times-Voice that she had come off sick-leave and presented at the bank for a copy of the records for the account on which she was a signatory as part of her duties as County Treasurer. The records she wanted were through the month of June/2019.
Judge Bailey was leaving that office effective July 1, 2019. She wished to reconcile her last quarter’s books. She was denied the records.
“I was told I had been removed per a Fiscal Court order,” Ms. Bailey told the newspaper. The order, which the Times-Voice obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request served on the Fiscal Court the morning of the 26th of April, 2021, indicates its being entered the 25th day of June, 2019. According to the copy of the order we reviewed and were provided, this order was supposed to remove Charlotte Bailey “…as an authorized co-signer and inquirer…on all accounts…effective July 1st, 2019…”
She went to the bank after July 1. She only wanted the records ending the last part of June. She was denied the information and supplied the order as the bank’s basis, according to her.
The newspaper has reviewed the order. It is titled, “An Order Pertaining To Authorized Signers & Inquirers On All Accounts Of The Fiscal Court.” There are some signatures missing from the signature page.
We don’t pretend to know how any of this affects the order’s efficacy, but this order was not signed by the Judge/Executive or by Magistrate Roy Darrell Herald in spite of it containing lines for both signatures. Secondly, it is attested by “Crystal Deaton,” with Chris Friley’s name marked through.
We again consulted with local attorney, Derek Campbell. We asked him if there was anything wrong with how the order was entered. He told the newspaper, “You know, that is hard for me to answer. Since this order doesn’t appear to have been put on the Fiscal Court order books, and since it wasn’t executed by the executive officer of the Fiscal Court, its legitimacy remains a procedural issue.”
Judge Bailey’s opinion is a bit stronger. “How is this order valid, as is? I understand the Fiscal Court would say the motion was made and carried at a meeting where neither Judge Noble nor Magistrate Herald were there; but that doesn’t take away their needing to sign it. If a motion was properly made, seconded, and approved with enough votes, the members should still sign it even if they would have voted against it. It shouldn’t matter.”
Ms. Bailey is more upset she was never permitted to materially participate in the audit though she did participate (without any records from the bank) she tells us. “This isn’t the way these things are supposed to work,” she told the paper. “Clearly the three (3) Magistrates intended, with this order, to keep me from accessing the bank records I would need to participate in an informed way with the audit.”
“There were several other things kind of fishy here,” Judge Bailey told the Times-Voice. “It wasn’t just the missing signatures or the timing of this order."
“First, they hired a new accounting firm to perform this audit. Then, they paid the new firm much more money than the auditor who had been performing our county audits for years prior to this one. Finally, they cut me off at the knees from getting any bank records I would need to defend myself. I feel like I was run over by a fast moving train."
“Listen, these people are spreading very negative things about me on different social media sites. This whole thing is unfair. This is not who I am."
“I performed my duties (when CountyTreasurer) to the best of my ability. The audit's findings were correctable and would have been corrected had I not been on medical leave and then denied access to the bank records.”
Note: Mr. Long is an award-winning Kentucky journalist recognized for excellence in both writing and reporting by the Kentucky Press Association.