“…there is no missing money. I am outraged at the insinuation. Mr. Bush knows better.” Becky Watts Curtis
You may recall the newspaper publishing an article entitled, “More Fiscal Court Drama.” We interviewed carefully three sitting magistrates, Ray Moore, Elllis Tincher, and Donnie Bush.
Becky Curtis, the elected County Clerk, took great exception to much of what those gentlemen put on the record in our newspaper. She presented at the newspaper office to set the record straight.
As is the paper’s custom, we were willing to publish her side of the story and run it placed similarly on our front-page to where the other article appeared. The article to which the three magistrates contributed led off the paper. It is expected this article will too.
Just to refresh your collective recollections, Mr. Bush told the Times-Voice, “At our regular scheduled meeting, on December 17, 2019, the clerk told us she would have between 15-20,000 dollars at year’s end in excess fees.” In February of 2020, not only were there no 15-2000 dollars in excess fees but the clerk’s office settlement reflected her office had run $1,600.00 “in the red.” Bush then asked the Times-Voice, “Where did this money go? What happened to the $20,000.00?”
Becky Curtis, county clerk, denied ever representing to the Fiscal Court, or anyone, there would be nearly $20,000.00 in excess fees in December of 2019, or at any other time. The Clerk showed the newspaper its budget which Fiscal Court approved for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, back in January of that year. It was approved January the 24th and countersigned by both the County Court Clerk and the County Judge Executive.
This document represents a “budget estimate” of $2,120,576.00 in “Receipts YTD (Year To Date)” and “Total Disbursements YTD" of $2,120,576.00. "That equals out to zero,” said Curtis.
The County Clerk pointed out to the newspaper her office is regularly audited, as required by law. The audit uses the guidelines and standards set forth by the DLG (Department for Local Government) and the Kentucky Auditor’s office.
Ms. Curtis told the Times-Voice, “Since becoming Clerk I have passed every audit conducted of my office in exemplary fashion. I am very proud of this.”
The 2019 audit is in the finishing stages presently. The results of the audit will be available for inspection when complete.
This audit would encompass the year where there has been an insinuation of the “missing twenty-grand.” According to the auditor, as represented to Ms. Curtis’s office, the 2019 results will be another stellar year with zero accounting irregularities or unexplained debits or transfers.
"In other words," Ms. Curtis told the Times-Voice, “there is no missing money. I am outraged at the insinuation. Mr. Bush knows better.”
As for this concept of the Fiscal Court having to give money to the clerk’s office, Ms. Curtis asked it be noted she turned over $38,000 in fees to the Fiscal Court for the months of February and March alone. So, when it is reported she is asking the Fiscal Court for money, like the $1,600 to “clear her books” or the $550.0 for the 2020 primary, it’s not like they are having to do anything to come up with the money to give her office.
She just wants back some of the money she has given over to Fiscal Court from out of revenue streams earned by her office staff and her. “It’s not like the Fiscal Court has ever ‘hit a lick with a stick’ to earn any of this money,” Curtis told us. “They may need to learn the difference between an asset and a liability. My office is an asset. We earn money which is used to fund the things Fiscal Court wants. The Fiscal Court, on the other hand, is a liability.”
Ms. Curtis told us, “The article published in the newspaper titled, ‘More Fiscal Court Drama,’ was just another in a long line of those particular magistrates personally attacking me and impugning my good name. I have been constantly prevented (by them) from doing my elected duty.”
Ms. Curtis continued, “At one point the Fiscal Court attempted to cut my budget to where I would only be able to afford one employee. Imagine what that would have meant to the employees with families I was going to be forced to let go. What would it have done to negatively affect the citizens of the county regarding the provision of services on which they depend from the clerk’s office? How would they conduct their respective businesses without the assistance of a clerk with a functioning and adequately manned staff? It is unconscionable.”
Ms. Curtis finished by saying, ”They talk in the newspaper about being ‘...good stewards of the tax-payers’ money.' Were they good stewards when they chose to hire private counsel, at considerable tax-payer expense, and turn down the county attorney’s representation, for which the tax-payers both have and are already paying? Is that what those gentlemen call being good stewards of the tax-payers’ money?"