Pickens County Corrects Factual Errors in Media Report
Museum Finances Handled Appropriately
A recent media report claims that the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has a pending inquiry into the finances of the Pickens County Museum. We are informed that a former employee of the Museum, Allen Coleman, contacted the Attorney General’s Office at some point after he was terminated by the County for inappropriate conduct.
We were contacted by SLED last month, and we provided them with all information they requested. We also referred them to our external auditing firm for an outside perspective on the county’s financial management practices, both generally and as it pertains to the Museum. We are informed that this preliminary contact from SLED was only made to determine if sufficient information exists to warrant an actual investigation, and that this is a routine step when a citizen complaint is received.
There are no financial irregularities or monies transferred from designated accounts into the County’s General Fund as alleged. While the media report indicates that over $70,000.00 was “drawn out” of museum accounts, this assertion is completely without a factual basis. Records that are readily available to the public from the Finance Office show a fund balance in the contingency account for the Museum of $73,318.00 as of today’s date, with any and all revenues and expenditures accurately recorded. Much of this information is also available on the County website.
As a reminder, Pickens County is audited annually by an independent external auditing firm. In our most recent audit, this firm noted that there were no material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, or noncompliance with financial statements noted. In fact, Pickens County has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for eleven (11) consecutive years.
It is correct that the County Museum is going through a transition in leadership. But it is wildly inaccurate to suggest that the County is withdrawing support for the Museum or its mission. In fact, Pickens County Council is currently considering an additional $120,000.00 budget outlay for repairs to the facility.