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Saline clerk says money available to cover her payroll

updated: 11/3/2017 10:35 AM

SALINE COUNTY - County board members on Wednesday discussed what they say is a potential overspending issue in the county clerk's office that could affect clerk employees' paychecks.

County Clerk Kim Buchanan, however, said money is available for her staff to be paid.

Budget committee Chairman Joe Jackson said according to budget figures given to him by county Treasurer Jeff Murrie, Buchanan's office has exceeded the allotted budget, which runs through the end of this month. Jackson sent Buchanan a letter Monday informing her of the potential budget issue and saying the board could not change her office's allotment of county funds.

During discussion Wednesday, Jackson mentioned the county clerk's "automation" fund as a potential source of county clerk employee payroll funds.

The automation fund, a source of contention in Saline County for years, is a special fund outlined by the state that appropriates a percentage of county money taken by the county clerk's office and holds it in anticipation of needing it for future maintenance and improvements to record-keeping.

Jackson said Buchanan had told him at some point that some payroll funds for two of her employees comes from that fund. Jackson said in his opinion, if one employee in the county clerk's office can be paid from the automation fund, any should be.

Buchanan said the employees paid from the automation fund deal specifically with county records.

Saline County State's Attorney Jayson Clark said according to information he had, the definition of how automation funds could be used is broad enough to pay any county clerk employee who handles records or enters data into a computer.

The county board could vote to allot more money to an officeholder's budget with a two-thirds majority vote if there is an "emergency."

Clark said an attorney general opinion of what constitutes an emergency is very nonspecific.

By the end of the meeting, with Buchanan stating her employees would be paid and that money was available, Jackson said he concluded there was no emergency.

Board president Jay Williams asked for a motion to recess to the regular scheduled meeting on Nov. 23.

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