The Harlan County Industrial Development Authority took another step toward commissioning an independent audit of the authority’s past activities during a special called meeting on Tuesday.
Chairman Harry Gibson opened the meeting with a statement about the urgent need for an audit in order to comply with the state’s recommendations.
“The secretary of state is saying right now,” said Gibson, referring to how quickly the audit should be performed.
According to Gibson, the board must have a clear picture of what has gone on in the past before any progress can be made to move things forward.
“We’ve got to do whatever it takes to get in compliance,” said Gibson.
IDA member Mark Bushnell advised the panel on some of the requirements for an audit.
“I do know that we have to have a CPA (certified public accountant) do it,” said Bushnell. “We have to have a full-blown audit.”
Gibson said he would prefer to use a CPA from outside the county in order to remove the possibility or appearance of any sort of bias.
“I’d rather take it out of town rather that have it appear biased,” said Gibson.
It was suggested to secure an attorney for the board and delegate the responsibility of locating a CPA to perform the audit to that attorney.
The authority approved a motion to offer the position of IDA board attorney to Russell Alred.
The panel passed a motion — on the condition that Alred accepts the position as IDA attorney — to have Alred select a forensic auditor and analyze all past business transactions made by the IDA.
“We can’t move forward until we get the past cleared out,” said Gibson.
Gibson mentioned to the authority that the fiscal court wants a monthly report from the IDA.
“We’ve got to comply with them,” said Gibson. “They’re the ones that are holding the responsibility for what we do.”
The next IDA meeting is set for Aug. 19.
In other IDA activity:
• A motion was passed to pay the IDA’s insurance in full;
• Gibson was named IDA chairman;
• A motion was passed approving Gibson to sign documents on behalf of the IDA.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde