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Carroll County finance director resigns

May 25, 2017
OSSIPEE — Citing a desire to spend more time with his family, Carroll County Finance Director Chuck Stuart has resigned from his position. The reading of his departure letter came at the May 17 county commissioner's meeting and was followed by the board members wishing him well and the county administrator pointing out it was great working with Stuart who helped him a lot.

On the job since September 2015, Stuart has been working to dig the county out of its financial "malaise" – a term used by Commissioner Mark Hounsell. Stuart's resignation comes on the heels of the delegation approving $100,000 to upgrade the timekeeping system, the 2015 audit complete and 2016 underway, and the release of the draft Agreed Upon Procedures (AUP) report unveiled this week by the county's auditor.

The AUP was a $20,000 compromise as the delegation pushed for a full-blown forensic audit last year that would have cost at least five times more but would satisfy their questions about fraud. In September 2016, Stuart was joined by County Administrator Ken Robichaud and the commissioners in pushing back against doing a forensic audit. Stuart's statement from that month shed some light on the work needed in the county finance office. ""There is no fraud here. There is a couple of boatloads of occasional stupidity and lack of work ethic in the past. But there is no fraud. The taxpayers paid extra because of that lax but there was no fraud involved. It greatly disturbs me to spend money on something I already know the answer to. Every day I encounter landmines and have to clean up for the person who preceded me. It's gotten to the point it is almost laughable," said Stuart.

With Stuart's resignation, there are now two key administrative positions unfilled. Wynette DeGroot resigned earlier this year from her human resources director position. Whether or not to fill these positions or re-arrange the organizational chart altogether was set to be discussed at the commissioner's May 24 meeting, after press time.

Last week, Commissioner Amanda Bevard suggested each commissioner write down their ideas for discussion about how the administration will be staffed. She suggested that a new human resources director be hired that reports directly to the commissioners as a co-worker to the administrator rather than a subordinate. Hounsell loudly asserted that idea was the most absurd thing he's ever heard. He said the administrator is paid good money to administer the county and should be able to staff the office however he wants.

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