County funds must be fully protected

Published 9:06 am Friday, July 27, 2012

An old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The overall meaning is that the first time something happens that is unexpected, it can be acceptable. But to have the same thing happen again means enough hasn’t been done to prevent it.

Ultimately that could be the case at the Lawrence County Treasurer’s Office. The sheriff’s office is investigating allegations that public funds have been stolen by an employee, which, if true, would mark the second time in less than five years that this has occurred.

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The original crime went on for weeks or months before the individual was caught. These allegations also involve money being taken over an undetermined period of time.

No one has been charged with a crime at this point and we must not forget that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

But the fact that, after such a short time, there are even new allegations that require a significant investigation is a problem in and of itself.

Although some steps were taken to improve the checks and balances within the treasurer’s office, the fact that something like this could go on again shows that more must be done.

Every effort must be made to protect taxpayers’ dollars and ensure these funds are handled appropriately. The entire system must be scrutinized and tweaked as needed.

Much will be made out of this because it is an election year and incumbent Stephen Dale Burcham is being challenged by former Liebert plant manager Jerry Rowe, Jr.

But the ultimate goal, regardless of who is in office, should be to implement an airtight system that ensures this cannot ever happen again.