Town council meetings have become quite interesting, and as events develop, that is unlikely to change in the near future.
The council is awaiting a report from the Oklahoma State Auditor’s office to determine whether or not a state audit is necessary. An assessment and analysis of the town’s financial records and internal controls was approved during the August board meeting.
When Mayor Glenn Bond was asked the reason for the assessment, he declined to give a specific answer.
“I’m not going to say,” he said. “The audit will show us what the reasoning would be. I’m not going to accuse someone until it is proven.”
The state auditor’s office confirmed it has been in Springer based on a request for an investigation to determine if the audit is warranted. It is currently waiting on additional information from the town’s auditor, Crawford & Associates, to complete its report, which will be made available to the public.
Currently, the public has shown dissatisfaction with the council, as meetings have been continually heated. One issue for the town is Bond’s actions to remove information from the computer of former clerk/treasurer Heather Shelley. The town was billed $166.50 by EDX Computers Inc. for line items listed as a 64GB flash drive as well as “removed password and copied data to flash drive.”
When asked if the council had approved the action of putting the city’s information on a flash drive and removing it from city hall, Bond said it hadn’t.
“I asked the vice-mayor (Joyce South), and she said to do it, which I can legally,” he said.
Bond said the drive was placed in a safe deposit box in a bank and has been turned over to the state auditor’s office.
Shelley, who has since resigned her office citing stress and health conditions, filed a report with the sheriff’s office. In the report, Shelley, who was placed in office by the voters, said she came into the office and noticed she could not log onto her computer without putting in a password and that it had been tampered with.
In the report, she said Bond had asked her for the password, and she declined to give it to him because he was not allowed access without her being present. She also said she had advised the city attorney, Bob Pinkerton, about the situation. Pinkerton, who was fired by the council during a special meeting in August, advised her to make a report.
Trustee Terri Gilio, who has been a vocal opponent of recent actions taken by the board, said she felt Bond had overstepped his bounds.
“When I was mayor and when Ms. South was the mayor, if we needed to look up something, we would go there and ask them for it,” Gilio said. “I didn’t want to look up the financial records on the computer, but all the records were there to see. When he asked Heather for her password, he overstepped his boundaries. He said she would not give him information, and that is baloney.”
Gilio also cited issues with Bond not being prepared for meetings. Leading to the meeting Tuesday night, the town’s financial information was left out of her packet. She said she was able to borrow it from Trustee Louise Tovar. She was also upset about incomplete minutes from the Aug. 27 meeting, as information was left out by South, who served as clerk in the wake of Shelley’s resignation. She said when she asked to hear the recording from the meeting to determine the accuracy of the minutes, Bond was unable to locate it.
“Basically, I am not even on that board,” Gilio said. “You shouldn’t come to meetings unprepared, and I feel when the clerk treasurer resigned, the office should have been closed. Bond hacked the computer and bypassed Shelley. He is a bully.
“We are on that board for the betterment of this town and not for ourselves.”
The Aug. 13 minutes report Bond gave one of the reasons for getting into the computer in question as “there were concerns here because we weren’t getting all the answers we were looking for from the clerk, that’s how simple it is.” He also told a citizen, “I did have it done, because I have suspicion there is something wrong, and I can do that.”
Bond said that he did not have the password changed, and the passwords remained the same as in a book Shelley handed over to the city upon resignation.
Bond has not been without his own troubles, as he said in the past two weeks, he has had nails placed in his driveway. On Saturday night, Bond said someone killed all his chickens.
As the storm simmers, the town will wait for the results of the state auditor’s report. Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones made a personal visit to Springer and has a vested interest in the report.
“We met with them,” Jones said. “I do know that they had a computer technician make a copy of the hard drive and put it on a thumb drive for gathering information, and the treasurer had resigned before we went down there.”
Jones said the office would meet with Crawford & Associates when its portion of the study is complete, and will make a report based on the findings. There is not a current timetable for the results, which will be made available to the public.