southern Platte County resident who says she is disenchanted with American politics in general and Platte County’s recent bookkeeping discrepancy in particular intends to circulate a petition to seek an audit of Platte County’s finances.
Kelly Seymour, a stay-at-home mother of three, says she is in the beginning stages of developing a plan to attempt to acquire the necessary signatures to force a study of the books by the state auditor’s office.
“I’m really angry at American politics,” she said, mentioning the Tom Delay fiasco at the federal level, “and now this is going on here.”
Seymour said she is stunned that “somebody who cannot account for $200,000, some of which is my money, won the primary election.”
She is referring to Platte County auditor Sandra Thomas, who won the Republican nomination for state auditor in August, even as it was public knowledge there was a discrepancy of $195,000 on the county’s books at the time. Eventually, an external audit conducted at additional county expense pointed toward several errors made by Thomas’ office as the primary reasons for the discrepancy.
“Now she is wanting to manage more of my money at a higher level?” Seymour remarked.
The Parkville resident–she lives at Riss Lake with her husband and three children ages 8, 6 and 14 months–said this week she received the petition and packet of information she requested about the process from the state auditor’s office.
In a telephone interview, Samantha Brewer, public affairs coordinator for the state auditor, told The Landmark that a little more than 4,000 signatures of registered voters in Platte County will be needed to force the audit. That amount is based on needing 10% of the total votes cast in the governor’s election in 2004.
There is no deadline for collecting the signatures, Brewer explained.
“They turn in the signatures and then we would turn them over to the Platte County clerk for verification,” Brewer stated. She further explained that a citizen requesting an audit does not need to provide any reason for requesting the audit.
“According to the law, you don’t have to have a reason. It’s your right as a citizen” to seek the petition-driven audit, Brewer explained.
Brewer added the state auditor normally does about 20 of these per year.
Of particular note is the fact if the petition drive is successful, the county would be forced to pay for the costs of the state performing the audit. Brewer estimated the charge for auditing Platte County would run anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000.
The price tag did not come as good news to Seymour on Wednesday morning as she sorted through information received in her packet from the state auditor.
“That does concern me. That doesn’t make me happy,” she said.
Seymour said she and her husband formerly lived in Atlanta, San Francisco and Houston but that “Missouri is home.” Her husband’s family lives in Trenton.
“My husband took a job that enabled him to work from home, and we deliberately chose Platte County and the Park Hill Schools. This is where I have decided to raise my kids.”
They have lived in Platte County the past year.
“My goal is to get the signatures and have the audit done. I’d like to have the state examine what’s going on in my county’s office.
“I am concerned. I think $200,000 is a lot of money,” she said. “The external audit finding was that three of the four things pointed to the county auditor as not being on top of the game.”
A positive result of her drive will be to get the level of awareness raised, she said, adding that anyone who lives in Platte County should be made aware of the recent accounting discrepancy.
She intends to carry the petition around at her kids’ school events and other activities, she said. She hopes to have some help, adding:
“I don’t know how it’s going to end. But I’m committed to this.”