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STATE TREASURER TO HOLD LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ACCOUNTABLE AND PUSH FOR TRANSPARENCY

January 28, 2009

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2009
Contact: Scott Malyerck (O) 734-2665 – (C) 446-2881

STATE TREASURER TO HOLD LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ACCOUNTABLE AND PUSH FOR TRANSPARENCY
Treasurer’s Office to begin withholding funds until municipalities comply with law

South Carolina Treasurer Converse Chellis

South Carolina Treasurer Converse Chellis

(Columbia, SC)…State Treasurer Converse Chellis asked that his office, beginning February 1st.,
withhold funds from local governments that do not comply with the state’s financial reporting law.

“If a city or town complies with the law it will continue to receive its state aid. If they fail to submit a proper financial audit to our office, then we will begin withholding state aid until they fully comply with the law,” said State Treasurer Converse Chellis.

Treasurer Chellis pushed for a law during his first year in office to hold local governments accountable for their
financial activity. The law (as proviso 76.14 to the General Appropriation Act) states that, “If a municipality fails
to submit the audited financial statements required under Section 14-1-208 of the 1976 Code to the State
Treasurer within thirteen months of the end of their fiscal year, the State Treasurer must withhold all state
payment to the municipality until the required audited financial statement is received.”

Chellis said, “Before the new law was passed, the State Treasurer’s Office had no legal authority to withhold funds.
We drafted a new law designed to hold local governments accountable for how they operate with tax dollars.”

The Treasurer’s Office has notified local governments numerous times as to the February 1st deadline.

The State Treasurer’s Office now estimates that it may withhold funds for close to 19 cities and towns across
the state.

“Citizens should know how their tax dollars are being spent at the local level,” said Chellis adding, “The state now
has a transparency website for state government and I propose that local governments follow suit and voluntarily
open up their financial books to the public.”

The State Treasurer’s Office is looking for the first county or municipality to open up its financial records and let
the public have internet access the way the public can now view state agencies’ spending. The Treasurer will
personally present the State’s Treasurer’s Award for Financial Excellence to the first county, city, or town that steps
up and volunteers.

The Treasurer’s Office will begin listing those local governments that do not comply on the Treasurer’s Office website,
http://www.treasurer.sc.gov.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    January 29, 2009 10:02 am

    Great job Treasurer Chellis! Local governments need to be accountable for their spending. We need to stop the waste.

  2. Sally permalink
    January 29, 2009 10:51 am

    Now why didn’t somebody think of this before?! Great way to hold government accountable for taxpayers’ dollars.

  3. Hank S. permalink
    January 29, 2009 2:17 pm

    Local government needs to be accountable! Do not send them more money until they show us where the money they already have is going. We need more of this common sense in state government. I’m glad the Treasurer is taking the lead.

  4. January 29, 2009 4:15 pm

    We try to limit our own posts butt… Since the Treasurer is not a client: Bravo!

  5. Reformee permalink
    January 29, 2009 4:26 pm

    Funny how Converse Chellis is seeing the light now, with next being an election year and all. Where has he been the past year+? Shoving pay raises for agency heads down our throats, stupidly raising the retirement system assumption rate, etc. I could go on. Just wait til voters get a whiff of those decisions…

  6. Shanks Evans permalink
    January 29, 2009 7:59 pm

    Hey Converse, last time I looked, the Freedom of Information Act compelled cities to “open up their financial books.” If I want a copy of my city’s audit, I’ll simply call city hall and get one. Matter of fact, I just checked my city’s website and lo and behold, the audit is already there! Real groundbreaking work you’re doing there.

  7. Robert permalink
    January 30, 2009 10:02 am

    You’ve got to start somewhere… See fitsnews re: Lexington-Richland School District 5. Audited financial statements were due Dec. 1 BY LAW and they still have not been submitted. So much for hiring on interim Supt Herb Berg to run the show and paying him $198,000 a year (a $34,000/yr increase) to get the job done. What non-government company would wait 7 months to produce financial statement??? GO CHELLIS!!!! I expect that District 5 will be your the child disciplined.

  8. January 31, 2009 10:18 am

    Treasurer,

    First, that is clearly your employee (the second commenter) only using a bogus name.

    Second, congrats on joining the “transparency” crusade. We’re sure your intentions are magnanimous and not just grandstanding.

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