JoCo election commissioner promises changes

Posted at 9:21 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 23:14:01-04

Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker is working to move forward after an internal audit showed a lack of control and $40,000 in questionable spending by his predecessor, Brian Newby.

"We'll work together as a team. We'll be a unit and this is a war. This is a battle and we need to be battle-tested and we will come through this," Metsker said. "We'll make those things better. We have a punch list. We started working on it this morning. Those are fixable."

One thing Metsker found reassuring was that the integrity of elections was not called into question. In addition to that, only 15 errors were found in voter records out of more than 380,000 registered voters in the county. 

In an online blog, Newby wrote about several objections to the audit, including a "major inaccuracy is the purchases without 'documentation.' That's simply not true, and they know that." He goes on to say in the same post that he is preparing a lengthy response to the county's findings.

There's no word on if the county will pursue criminal action. If so, "In the amounts that we're talking about here, if they found that they were knowingly misspent or the other statutes that are related were violated, they would be felonies," said Eddie Greim, partner at Graves Garrett LLC.

"Someone can be an excellent public servant, do everything that they're supposed to do but an important side of public service is keeping the paperwork the right way, respecting the taxpayers money," Greim added.

It seems that was the case at the election commission. Metsker said, "Where we might have fallen short in this office is in some of the business process - accounting, accountability."


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