|Wed, May 23, 2018 11:06 PM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
INEZ — A former Martin County water board chairman answered questions relating to "missing" financial records reported by the new board seated in January.
|Former Martin County water board chairman speaks out|
Former chairman Michael Cain said the reason there were not many records left for the new board is because there were no records to be found when he took office.
"I didn't have anything to start out with either," Cain said. "We didn't know how many accounts we had, what they were for or how much money was in them. We didn't actually have a treasurer until December when the PSC told us we had to have one. I knew we had to have a chairman and a secretary, but we didn't realize we needed a treasurer. We elected Junior (Everett) Horn in December just before we were replaced."
The current water board was installed the first week of January by Judge-Executive Kelly Callaham, who replaced four members who had been appointed by the previous administration.
"When we started back in July 2002, we didn't have enough money to pay the bills," Cain said. "We had to go through and figure out which bills to pay and which would have to wait. Generally speaking, I did that. A list was made by Maurice Mills, who was office manager at the time, and I figured out which ones to pay."
Cain said that the board was able to pay off most of the bills before it was replaced, but just before the end of December, more bills came to the office.
"On the Friday before we were replaced, we received bills dating as far back as 1999 up to early 2002," Cain said. "We didn't have a clue about those bills. We didn't know if we owed them or what they were even for."
One bill, Cain said, was a tax penalty from 1999.
"I didn't understand why we were receiving the bill after such a long time," he said. "We hadn't heard about it before December," Cain said.
According to Cain, the procedure for paying bills was that Mills would create a list of the bills and Cain would then decide which ones to pay just before the board meeting. The checks would then be generated and signed by two board members.
"Two of us would run up to the board to sign the checks once they had been generated," Cain said. "As for records, John Tackett, who does the audits for the water board, brought in some records, including minutes, and that was all we had. There should also be deposit sheets from the office."
Deposit sheets, Cain said, recorded all money that was brought in for the day.
"They were kept at the front of the office and should still be in the office," Cain said. "The box of records John (Tackett) brought in should still be there. Other than that, we had no records. There was also a quick books program on Maurice's computer and that should still be there as well. I don't know why anyone would have taken anything out of the office. Anyway, there are people there and would have seen people removing things. I know I didn't take anything."
Cain said he would attend the work session to be held on April 3 to answer any questions the current water board might have about the situation.
"It will take a while to straighten out the situation, and I will help out as much as I can," Cain said.
Current water board chairman Greg Scott was unavailable for comment.