TIPTON, Ind. - Tipton County's financial books are in such disarray, they're paying an outside consultant up to $30,000 to clean things up.
The Tipton County Commissioners voted unanimously to hire Maximus Consulting Services to review receipts and disbursements, help make corrections, train staff and report back to the commissioners and county council.
The contract with Maximus comes after former Tipton County auditor Amanda Inman, a Republican, resigned in June amid accusations she racked up thousands of dollars in late fees and penalties and charged personal utility bills to the taxpayers.
"I don't like to see our money wasted, period, especially with people who have jobs where we are depending on them to take care of the figures," said Gerald Plake, a longtime Tipton county resident.
Paul Joyce, deputy state examiner with the State Board of Accounts, told RTV6 it's unusual for an elected official to resign, and therefore force the local governmental unit to spend extra funds to hire an outside consultant come in and clean up their records.
County auditors are elected to be the fiscal officer of the county and are expected to protect taxpayer funds.
"The taxpayers should be angry," said Commissioner Jane Harper, a Republican. "That $30,000 is coming out of the county general fund to pay to clean up the mistake of an elected official."
Harper told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney she was shocked to see the condition of the county's financial records after a year and a half of Inman being in office.
"I was just seeing multiple mistakes," said Harper. "Entries in the ledger that were the wrong funds, the wrong amounts, they were put in the wrong lines, so I was very concerned."
Harper said county workers, including the treasurer's office, tried to fix the books themselves, but commissioners decided they needed outside help.
"When (Inman) resigned, we knew we needed to do something," said Harper.
RTV6 wanted to speak with the consultant, Jacqueline Clements, who was working at the auditor's office Monday afternoon, but she directed RTV6 to the company's media office.
"I'm not really a part of it," Clements told Kenney. "I'd rather you not take my picture."
The Call 6 Investigators left the auditor's office and workers shut the door.
They'll soon open their doors again, as the State Board of Accounts is auditing the county's financial records for its regularly scheduled audit, and possibly a special supplemental audit.
Also, the Tipton County prosecutor told RTV6 he has contacted the Sheriff's Office, who will contact Indiana State Police to conduct a criminal investigation.
Harper said police and prosecutors need to look into possible theft charges for Inman.
"Anyone who uses the county's routing number to pay for their own personal bills is absolutely (committing) theft," said Harper. "Tipton County has taken a zero tolerance stance on using public funds for personal use."
Commissioner Mike Cline declined to comment and Commissioner Phil Heron was unavailable for comment.
Inman was not home when Kenney stopped by Monday afternoon.
A new law goes into effect in November requiring county auditors receive at least 15 hours of training in the first year of office, and 40 hours of training within the first three years of taking office.
"I think we should have qualified people elected to begin with," said taxpayer Gerald Plake.
Harper said Inman had paid back most of the money she used to pay her utility bills.
Current Auditor Gregg Townsend declined to speak with RTV6 Monday, saying he could not add anything to the story.