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A legislative audit of the 2010 finances of the city of Bryant has been referred to the office of Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady.
On Monday, Casady confirmed the accuracy of this statement and said, "It is too early for me to say who might be at fault or if criminal charges will follow, but we are looking into what the audit referred to us."
Casady went on to say, "The mayor (Jill Dabbs) noticed IT (information technology) issues from the previous administration and asked for an audit to look at contracts for IT work. Audit still hasn't issued a report, but gave me some preliminary information last week." Casady said a "good amount of money" was paid to an IT vendor with a "highly questionable" amount of goods and services received. According to Casady, his office had learned of the information within the last month and "we knew roughly what they were looking at, but they just gave me some information for my investigator a week or so ago."
An investigator has been assigned to the case.
When asked if the audit pointed to any individual or if there was a process issue involved, Casady said, "I wouldn't want to make a comment as to who, if anyone, is crooked. It's too early for me to say."
Reports in other media outlets characterized the matter as a criminal investigation, but Casady said the investigation is being done to determine whether a crime had been committed.
On Dec. 30, 2010, Dabbs asked for and received the resignation of the city finance director Gary Hollis. Dabbs maintains that she had reviewed the performance of Hollis during the first year of her four-year term and cited the financial audit as a contributing factor for her decision. On Jan. 5, 2012, the Bryant City Council overtturned Dabbs' decision to dismiss Hollis and returned Hollis to his post.
When reached for comment on Jan. 6, Hollis confirmed his knowledge of the audit and potential IT issues that had been found. Hollis stated it was his opinion that the infractions were minor.
Hollis went on to say he was grateful to the council for bringing him back to work and that his working relationship with Dabbs has remained on a professional level.