BENTON — Franklin County circuit clerk Jim Muir hopes after May, his office will finally be caught up with audits — his office has been through eight audits since he took office, and there are three to go.
BENTON — With mixed results from the forensic audit his office ordered in June, Franklin County Circuit Clerk Jim Muir is ready to move on as …
He’s been in office little more than a year and has gone through what he said were about eight audits. Muir said going through one is stressful enough, so going through eight was certainly not a picnic.
Muir said a new auditing firm, Emling and Hoffman, of Du Quoin, was hired by the County Board during its Jan. 16 meeting to conduct not only its general county audit for 2017, but the circuit clerk’s 2016 and 2017 aduits as well as its most recent exit audit.
“We are trying to get it behind us,” Muir said of the drama over the last year, which centered around missing files relating to the previous administration.
A forensic audit was completed in 2017, which came back with inconclusive results — Muir said they didn’t have enough files to say whether or not there was any illegal activity going on in the office. Muir said his gut tells him something was going on — the missing files related to a previous clerk under whom a sizable amount of cash was stolen.
“But, we can’t prove it,” he said.
Kindra Eickelman, a former employee of the circuit clerk's office, was sentenced in 2016 to four years of probation for stealing thousands of dollars from the office between 2012 and 2014.
Like Muir, County Board Chair Randall Crocker said he hopes this will help put some of the drama to rest.
“I sure hope it squares everything up in a satisfactory manner,” Crocker said, adding that they have spent quite a bit of money already on the forensic audit to make sure Muir’s office was in order. He said, though, that the vague results were “disturbing” to him — they could neither prove nor disprove any wrongdoing.
“We spent a lot of money already making sure everything was right … I hope that’s the case,” Crocker said.
“If it had been there, I think they would have found something.”
Muir said the auditors have already been working for the last few weeks, and as far as his office is concerned, he felt confident their work would be done well ahead of the May deadline.
Crocker said the county’s regular audit would cost in the neighborhood of $49,000, while the 2016 and 2017 audits of the circuit clerk’s office would be between $6,000 and $7,000 each. He said he did not have a breakdown of the cost of the exit audit.
Despite the ups and down of the last year, Muir said he still loves his job. He said he tries to keep things in perspective and his work as a coal miner helps.
“That’s a tough job. This isn’t a tough job,” he said.