The Saline County Quorum Court Finance Committee has approved a measure that will allow the county to move forward with the hiring of a comptroller.
“When you look at the county budget, we have approximately 37 different funds that cover 19 different departments and a budget in excess of $30 million on an annual basis and do not have a comptroller,” Arey said. “It just made good sense to me to hire a comptroller.”
A comptroller is responsible for auditing and analyzing the county’s financial records to ensure the county is in compliance with state laws regarding how a county operates financially. The position will also entail actively reporting the county’s financial position to the court.
“They will also be in charge of things like overseeing the general ledger and all of the budgets of the county, as well as, preparing the budget and monitoring the budget throughout the year,” Arey said. “They will oversee other things like purchasing practices, accounts payable practices, payroll, anything to do with county finances.”
According to Arey, the county will be looking to hire an individual for the position with extensive accounting experience or a certified public account to help the county make sure that it is maximizing it’s efficiency in financial matters. The annual salary is expected to be in the $75,000 to $100,000 range.
The measure approved by the committee is an appropriation ordinance outlining how the county will pay for the comptroller's salary. A number of departments examined their budgets to look for funds that could be transferred in order to cover the salary of the position without altering the 2020 budget.
“I reached out to each of the elected officials listed on that ordinance, their departments, and talked to each official individually to say, ‘Hey, do you think you could find it within your budget that you are currently under to help fund this position.’ We did not have to appropriate additional money over and above the original 2020 budget. That’s what we were able to do.”
During the committee meeting Justice of the Peace Josh Curtis told fellow JPs that a number of counties fund their comptroller positions in a similar fashion.
“This is something we really wanted to do during budget time, but we just didn’t have the numbers there to do it,” Curtis said.
Arey also spoke during the meeting adding that it was a cooperative effort from a number of departments and elected officials that made the comptroller position possible.
“I’d like to thank all the other elected officials and their departments for being cooperative and trying to find (funds) within their own budget,” Arey said during the meeting. “Without the Quorum Court’s help and the other elected officials help, we probably wouldn’t have been able to do it this year.”
The departments aiding in making the position possible include the road, treasurer, county collector, circuit clerk and assessor departments.
“(The Quorum Court) wants to make sure that we are good stewards of the county’s money,” Arey said. “I think it’s important to the Quorum Court to make sure that they have a clear understanding of the county’s financial position.”
Arey added that the JPs will be able to make the best decisions for the county when they know the county’s financial position.
While the position has been approved by the finance committee, an official vote at the court’s next meeting is still required. The county will begin advertising for the position immediately, but the hiring process will not begin until after the vote later this month.
“That ordinance is not official, but we wanted to begin talking to the public because it looks like the position is really going to happen,” Arey said.
The committee vote to approve the ordinance was unanimous and the measure is expected to pass at the full meeting of the Quorum Court. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Courtroom 1 at the Saline County Courthouse, located at 200 N. Main St., in Downtown Benton.
For information on applying for the comptroller position, contact the Saline County Human Resources Department at 501-303-5658 or visit www.salinecounty.org.