UPDATE:Effingham Co Chairman Does Not Expect Resignations - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

UPDATE:Effingham Co Chairman Does Not Expect Resignations

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County Administrator David Crawley may resign as early as Thursday County Administrator David Crawley may resign as early as Thursday
County Administrator David Crawley was expected to resign last week County Administrator David Crawley was expected to resign last week
EFFINGHAM COUNTY -

The questions continue in Effingham County, as Commissioners wait to see possible violations an auditor has found in the budget.

A canceled meeting, possible resignations and a lot of questions about an auditor's findings in the county budget.

That's the way this all started last week.

Some commissioners are now calling for a special meeting to discuss potential violations and the future of the County Administrator.

But Chairman Wendell Kessler told News 3 Monday he's "not worried".

Kessler told me on the phone that County Administrator David Crawley and his wife Patrice, the County Clerk, have been the target of "unfounded allegations" for the last two years.

That's why he expected them to resign at last week's Commission meeting. That meeting was canceled when Kessler and two other commissioners couldn't make it.

That resignation has not happened, and Kessler says he sees "no reason" they should quit.

Chairman Kessler added that the auditor has presented his findings except for a few financial things, which should be done this week.

Now Kessler says David Crawley and the county attorney are formulating their response. Several sources tell News 3 that will include as many as 27 findings of financial and legal issues connected to the budget.

Kessler adds that it could be as long as 3 weeks before Commissioners see the results of the entire audit.

Several commissioners tell News 3 they want to see that audit now, and not wait three weeks.

They have made a formal request to Crawley for that information, and so far have not gotten a response.

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It's the story that everyone is talking about, except the people directly involved.

It all stems from an audit of the Effingham county budget, which is usually finished by January 1st, but hasn't been made public yet.

Several commissioners asked for a summary of that audit, and discovered there were 27 findings, some of which are could be considered major issues.

Nine of those findings were explained to News 3:

Conflict of interest created in job positions, such as husband and wife

Loss of qualified government status which was known by staff but not the Commission

Misappropriation of county funds diverted to private account

Not following established policy procedure and internal controls

County minutes not properly kept in compliance with state law

Improper use of county funds for related party transactions

Loss of 1 of 3 public safety communication towers without notifying the board.

Misinformation given repeatedly in public meetings in order to do things like build private roads on public property, which is against county ordinance.

Request for board approval for expenditures that have already occurred without informing the Commission that expenditures had already occurred

The man who could be held responsible for those violations is county administrator David Crawley.

Crawley and his wife Patrice, who is the County Clerk, were expected to resign at last night's commission meeting, and even went so far as to remove personal items from their offices this weekend.

But that meeting and resignation never happened, because three commissioners couldn't attend, and they didn't have a quorum for a vote.

Three Commissioners who were at that meeting, News 3 talked to Wednesday.

Vera Jones, Phil Keiffer and Forrest Floyd all say as County Administrator, David Crawley's job is to make sure these problems don't occur, and he should be held responsible.

"Do you believe the Crawley's should be in a leadership position?" we asked Forrest Floyd, Effingham County Commissioner.

"I just don't have confidence at this point from what I've seen," said Floyd. "Thought we were going to see resignations."

"Are you hoping for those?"

"I think that would be for the best," said Floyd.

"Some of the findings were very serious," explained Commissioner Vera Jones. "And if we don't take some sort of action where when we do our management report we will recitify some of these issues, it could affect our bond rating."

"How can we represent the taxpayers and move forward with them in a leadership position?" wondered Commissioner Phil Keiffer.

"I just want people to see there are leaders here that want to step up and make the best decisions for the county. The taxpayers, that's what they expect," said Floyd.

The Commissioners say they would be happy to take part in a public hearing if either of the Crawley's want to explain their position, clear their name and possibly save their jobs.

That way the issues can be corrected in a positive manner.

These commissioners are asking for a specially called meeting to discuss Crawley's future and the audit results.

They say this shouldn't wait two more weeks for a decision, whatever that may be.

The Commissioners also agree that a criminal investigation is necessary once the full audit is released and analyzed.

The full audit could be released any day now.

We tried to reach County Commission Chairman Wendell Kessler and David Crawley, but neither returned our calls.

We will stay on the story and keep you updated..

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