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New Berkeley County sheriff's department audit OK'd

January 02, 2001

New Berkeley County sheriff's department audit OK'd



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W. Va. - The Berkeley County Commissioners Tuesday approved new Sheriff Randy Smith's request for an audit of the records of the department under former Sheriff Ron Jones.

Smith put in writing his request to have auditors inspect the records in the law enforcement, tax office and trust operations of the Sheriff's Office.

The Commissioners estimated the audit would cost about $4,000 to $5,000, and perhaps more.

County offices are regularly audited, although requests such as Smith's may be somewhat out of the ordinary, county officials said.

"I don't know how common it is," said commission attorney Norwood Bentley III. "It's not aimed at anyone. It's just good business practice. If I was running any major office like that, I'd want an audit just to see where things stood."

The request was dated Monday, the day Smith took office. Smith defeated Jones in a hard-fought election.

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Smith had filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office about an anonymous flier circulated about him just before the election.

"This is a good business practice," Smith said Tuesday when contacted about the request.

"We always have an audit," Jones said. "I don't have any problem with an audit. All the records are there for them to see, to show exactly what we did."

Jones did not ask for an audit when he took office in 1997.

The Commissioners Tuesday withheld signing three purchase orders submitted by Jones between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Dec. 29, the last weekday of his tenure. The purchase orders totaled about $10,000 and the commissioners wanted to make sure Smith approved them before they signed them.

Jones said he didn't recall specifically what they were for, but said he would not have submitted them if they weren't warranted.

"I served as sheriff right up until the last day," he said.

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