Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

June 29, 2014

Firm to reconstruct finances

TRAVERSE CITY — Kalkaska County officials are bringing in a third-party firm to reconstruct the county’s financial records.

Auditors began to perform the county’s regular audit, but stopped because the county’s finances were so snarled, said county board Chair Alan Hart.

“Our books are not in order and they need to be out in order,” Hart said. “All I know is I need the answers to the budget questions, and auditors need to be able to audit.”

The county’s recently hired controller, Bruce Blevins, just submitted his resignation, to be effective Aug. 1.

Blevins would not talk about why he is leaving. Hart said Blevins was “unhappy” with his job.

Blevins hung up on a Record-Eagle reporter and did not return messages.

Blevins was hired to take care of the county’s financial matters and head its accounting department after former controller Tracy Nichol resigned at the end of December. Several county commissioners tried to oust Nichol prior to her resignation because they said there were so many problems with the county’s bookkeeping.

Commissioners selected Blevins from a pool of 15 applicants and agreed to hire him on March 5.

Julie Naasko, the accounting clerk and board secretary, also hopes to leave the accounting department. Naasko, who’s held her position for 14 years, would not say why she wants to leave.

She’s hoping to transfer to county dispatch, but the change is pending union approval, Hart said. The position itself will soon move out of the accounting office and into the clerk’s office.

Hart said the county hired Cadillac-based accounting firm Baird, Cotter & Bishop to fix the county’s books. The firm’s rate is hourly and it’s unknown exactly how much their work will cost the county. Hart said the project is expected to take two weeks.

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