Loader not a laughing matter

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 21, 2008

After nearly a year of digging, head scratching and a little suspicion quietly thrown around, Adams County’s missing front-end loader issue finally died Tuesday morning.

As it turns out the “missing” loader was sold at auction more than eight years ago.

Shoddy records keeping, however, allowed the transaction to occur without the removal of the loader from the county’s equipment inventory list.

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The issue became comical in many circles. Missing front-end loader jokes became good water cooler talk.

But the issue isn’t a laughing matter.

While it may seem like a minor issue, it isn’t. The front-end loader costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Given the value of such a piece of equipment, the simple bookkeeping mistake, if not isolated to this one instance, could be nearly as serious as the mess left by the previous circuit clerk’s bookkeeping woes.

Fortunately, in this case, it appears nothing was actually stolen, but it could have been. Worse, the potential theft could have gone unnoticed for more than eight years.

We’re glad Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter latched onto the problem and wouldn’t let it drop until it was resolved.

The county’s equipment is your equipment, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer.

And you deserve to know where it is at all times. If fact, the county’s annual audit should include a physical check of all equipment and other assets.

That’s commonplace in business audits and should be commonplace for the business of our county, too.

If someone signed off on audits stating that the equipment was there when it wasn’t, they need to be held accountable for their actions.

County leaders would be wise to put in steps to prevent this in the future, before we wake up eight years down the road and find another valuable piece of equipment has vanished.