Two members of the Leavenworth County Commission criticized the county treasurer during a meeting Thursday.

Two members of the Leavenworth County Commission criticized the county treasurer during a meeting Thursday.

Commission Chairman Bob Holland criticized Treasurer Janice Van Parys during a presentation about an audit of the county government for the year 2015. Holland criticized Van Parys concerning the transfer of money from a fund used by the Treasurer’s Office.

Commissioner Dennis Bixby later argued that Van Parys had accused him of stealing from the county during a public forum in Tonganoxie.

Van Parys was not in attendance during Thursday’s meeting.

When interviewed after the meeting, Van Parys accused Holland of “using his position to further his own political agenda.” She acknowledged talking about Bixby during a forum but denied that she accused him of being a thief.

The 2015 audit was conducted by the accounting firm Berberich Trahan & Co. Managing Director Karen Linn presented the audit reports to the commissioners during Thursday’s meeting.

She said material weaknesses and sufficient deficiencies were found in an audit for county programs that used federal funds. She said a material weakness is considered the worst level of findings in an audit.

She said the audit includes corrective action plans to address the issues.

Holland asked Linn a series of questions that had been prepared ahead of the meeting. Many of the questions concerned the treasurer not transferring a year-end balance from a motor vehicle fund as outlined in state law.

The fund contains money the Treasurer’s Office receives for the registration of vehicles.

The transfer of year-end balances from the fund was the focus of a lawsuit that Van Parys filed last year against the commission.

Van Parys sought a court order to prevent the County Commission from transferring money from the motor vehicle fund.

Van Parys argued that transferring a year-ending balance from the motor vehicle fund to a county general fund would have left her office in the red and unable to meet payroll obligations.

The Treasurer’s Office also receives funding from the county government. But Van Parys argued that the county government did not provide adequate funding for her office’s tax collection duties.

The lawsuit ended earlier this year with a settlement, which resolved the balance transfer issue through 2017.

The commission approved the settlement 2-1 with Holland voting against it.

During Thursday’s meeting, Holland said there seems to be a lack of internal control between the county clerk and treasurer. He asked Linn if the commission should beef up internal controls. He also asked Linn if she had other suggestions to prevent the problem in the future.

Linn suggested commissioners should follow the settlement that was reached in the lawsuit. She said it is her understanding that the lawsuit was filed to clarify how the issue should be handled.

“The settlement of that lawsuit should be the guiding resource going forward,” she said.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber said the lawsuit resolved the issue.

Holland said the settlement only resolved the issue for a period of time.

“This is probably going to come back,” he said.

Also during Thursday’s commission meeting, Bixby said Van Parys had accused him of stealing gasoline from the county.

Bixby accused Van Parys of making the claim during a forum Wednesday in Tonganoxie.

Bixby said he previously had used a county credit card for two personal purchases including gasoline. Bixby said he reimbursed the county when he learned of the mistake.

The commissioner held up the county credit card as well a personal credit card to compare their appearance.

“It was an easy mistake to make,” he said. “I made it.”

Bixby said he has traveled to various meetings at his own expense while representing the county. He estimated this has cost him about $1,200.

“I have never turned that in (for reimbursement),” he said.

Bixby accused Van Parys of misconduct. But he said commissioners had been unable to talk about these issues while the lawsuit was pending.

“I don’t know where this is all going to stop,” he said.

Van Parys is seeking re-election to the position of county treasurer.

Bixby said the county is in trouble if Van Parys is elected to another four years.

“I can’t stop it anymore,” he said.

Bixby lost his bid for re-election to the County Commission when he was defeated in an August Republican primary.

Doug Smith won the Republican primary. Smith faces no opposition in the general election.

Van Parys said Thursday that she had pointed out during the forum that Bixby had used the county credit card in error.

Van Parys said she has been accused of the same behavior, and she was trying to point out that such mistakes have occurred and were rectified.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR