OPINION: A County Commission Resolution?

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Concern was raised at a recent meeting of the Cannon County Commission over the equipment list of one of the county's agencies.

Thinking about the situation, I wondered why producing an equipment list for the commissioners, or any citizen, to see should be a concern at all?

Since I did not know whether the county commission has in place a policy requiring that every county department and agency maintain an updated equipment or inventory list, I went to ask Diane Hickman, assistant to county executive.

Hickman said she does not know if there is such a policy, but added that some of the county departments do provide her with a list of some its property, for state audit purposes. Hickman added it is currently not as up-to-date as she would like it to be.

The county commission should adopt a resolution requiring that every county department and agency create and maintain an inventory list as soon as possible.

Such a list, kept on file at the county executive's office, should be updated every six months. It should contain the name and description of every item purchased by a department and agency, the amount of money spent, and the date it was purchased.

A brief notation explaining why the item was purchased and what it is used for would also be beneficial.

If an item or items are no longer in use, that should be noted as well. If an item is sold, or conveyed to another entity, that information should also be provided.

Failure of a department or agency to provide such an updated list should result in the denial of budget requests or amendments until one is produced.

Government offices should provide accountability to both those elected officials who approve their monetary expenditures, and those who provide the funding - the taxpayers. Mandatory inventory lists are one way of doing so.