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Citizen critics of indicted county officials get personal – and impatient

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Published on Oct 1, 2019

It was a nearly full house of around 60 citizens, mostly angry and accusatory, that greeted the Warren County Board of Supervisors and staff at the first monthly meeting of October. Despite the 9 a.m. meeting time historically done to accommodate monthly reports including some from out of town officials, citizens upset about the EDA financial scandal were out in force Tuesday, October 1.

They appeared drawn by a late-added agenda item word of which quickly spread through the community. That item was consideration of the hiring of legal counsel at taxpayer expense for the defense of the five supervisors, county administrator and former county/EDA attorney each charged a week earlier, September 24, on three misdemeanor indictments of misfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of their public positions.

Those charges allege a lack of due diligent oversight of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald while the EDA financial fraud investigation was underway the final four months of last year, beginning in mid-September.

With public calls for a mass resignation of the board – though apparently not until they first fire County Administrator Doug Stanley – the thought of the board members, not only staying in office, but also using taxpayer generated County funds for their defense against charges they have already been deemed guilty as charged of in the court of social media and public opinion, is not a happy thought for many.

Seventeen speakers rose in the first round of public comments near the meeting’s beginning to address their various levels of unhappiness at the evolution of what has now been cited in civil litigation discussion as a $21 million embezzlement or misdirection of EDA assets over the past five-plus years. Then in the second, less time-restricted public comments section near the meetings end another 12 people rose, for the most part to continue the criticism of the lapse of oversight for which the supervisors and two staffers are now being criminally prosecuted for.

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