Cleveland County Sheriff Responds To Financial Crisis And Audit

County Commissioners there have asked the state auditor to investigate how the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office spends its funding. The Sheriff’s Office has been accused of overspending.

Tuesday, February 20th 2024, 5:16 pm



A fight over public safety funds has been brewing in Cleveland County. County Commissioners there have asked the state auditor to investigate how the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office spends its funding. The Sheriff’s Office has been accused of overspending.

Sheriff Chris Amason said on Tuesday his office has not received the funding it was due and is requesting a financial audit of the county budget board.

“I’m the one wanting to know where the money is from the budget,” said Sheriff Chris Amason, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.

Amason said his office was promised by the Cleveland County Budget Board last September access to $33 million dollars.

“We were told we would have a minimum of 18.3 million for our budget,” said Frank Magness, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Financial Officer. “We’re around 11 million now.”

The Sheriff's Office needs seven million more to make it to the end of June but were denied the funds.

“This is not about frivolous expenditures,” said Amason. “This is about basic necessities to protect our citizens and provide them services.”

The funding goes to pay his employees and maintain the county jail.

The Cleveland County Commissioners sent a letter in February to the state auditor's office requesting a special audit of Amason's office. Asking officials to dig through the operational budget from 2024 through 2021.

Amason said he has nothing to hide and requested his own financial audit to specifically looking at funding sources.

“A financial audit is one that show truth and accuracy of statements and that’s what we’re looking for the truth, accuracy and transparency now how we’re funded and where that money is coming from,” said Magness.

Requests for on-camera interviews with county commissioners were not returned. Amason said it will take a special meeting to determine if he will get his requested audit and funding.

“We’re hoping they do the right thing,” said Amason.

Sheriff Amason said his funding comes largely from ad valorem taxes. He said his office's funding from that source was down 79 percent from last year.

Cleveland County Treasurer Jem Reynolds released the following statement clarifying information regarding funding for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office:

"The Cleveland County Budget Board is committed to working with the Sheriff’s office to address the department’s budget challenges and protect public safety.
 
"The Sheriff’s budget was set at $18.36 million during budget negotiations last year. Records indicate that his office has received slightly over $17 million thus far, with additional revenue coming in monthly.
 
"The estimated projections show his office on path to receive the designated $18.36 million. It is unclear why he has a demand for more funds. All County departments are expected and required to manage cash flow and adjust accordingly.
 
"Ultimately, the Budget Board has a responsibility to the taxpayers to understand how the Sheriff’s office got into this financial situation before committing more funds to it. Once the Sheriff’s office provides the requested information, we look forward to working together to ensure an appropriate solution is in place.”
logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

February 20th, 2024

April 24th, 2024

April 23rd, 2024

April 23rd, 2024

Top Headlines

April 24th, 2024

April 24th, 2024

April 24th, 2024

April 24th, 2024