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County Expenditure Process Explained

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A story in this week’s issue regarding a federal indictment for fraudulent transactions on the part of a county employee reflects wording used in the indictment, which does not accurately represent the process of a county expenditure.

County Treasurer Carla Stewart said her office is responsible for printing checks, but not for approving expenditures.

She explained that when a purchase is made by a county office, that elected official receives a bill and invoice for the product or service. The official signs to confirm that the purchase was received or service was rendered, and the invoice goes to the county clerk’s office. The clerk completes a claim that is submitted to the county judge. With the judge’s signature, the claim is returned to the clerk to be entered into the computer system. The treasurer is then notified that a check may be printed. The treasurer prints the check, which is then returned to the clerk to be delivered to the requesting party.

“The treasurer, by law, cannot refuse to issue a check unless a fund has a negative balance,” said County Treasurer Carla Stewart. “By law, I have to print it.”

To clarify further, no one can enter the clerk’s office with an invoice and receive payment in one simple step.

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A federal grand jury has indicted Zachary Alexander, former chief deputy for the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, on 11 counts related to fraudulent transactions. The case was filed in United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas May 3.

According to the indictment, Alexander was employed by the sheriff’s department from 2017 to March 2020. He is accused of intentionally devising a scheme to obtain money under fraudulent pretenses and conducting financial transactions for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute a scheme involving firearms.

Read the full story in the May 11 issue.

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