Confusion abounds about loader

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Perhaps our 486-square-mile county is a bit like a haystack.

Or maybe the missing needle isn’t missing at all.

One way or the other, the county can’t account for a $78,453 piece of equipment.

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The front-end loader, the whereabouts of which was brought into question in May, may not have ever been bought, some county officials are saying now.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the matter as a crime, but they’ve seen no signs of it, Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

And the only thing left is confusion.

If the front-end loader was never bought, the county has a serious bookkeeping problem. Serial numbers for parts don’t add up with the machines on hand. And the bookkeeping gap makes us nervous about what else may or may not be right.

If the piece of equipment was in fact bought, but misplaced or sold without a record being kept, the saga is baffling. How do you lose a bulldozer-like machine?

Doesn’t the county have a system for checking this in and out to employees each day?

And, if the machine was stolen, who would have access to do so? Was it left in a location where it could be easily taken?

Is a county employee the culprit?

We sure hope not.

Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter has led the charge to find the equipment, and we appreciate his work on the matter. The situation demands an answer, and we hope the county leaders find their needle before it sticks them.