02/05/08 — The rules: Pikeville officials should be open about findings

View Archive

The rules: Pikeville officials should be open about findings

Mayor Herbert Sieger is right. There wasn’t any criminal wrongdoing discovered when the State Bureau of Investigation looked into Pikeville’s finance department — and the town clerk was not doing anything illegal with the town’s money.

And that’s good — although the right thing to do was to check to make sure. That is the responsibility of the leaders of a community who have been charged with taking care of taxpayers’ money. To ignore a potential concern would be irresponsible — no matter how much you liked the person in the job. And to keep such an inquiry from your bosses — the taxpayers — would have been even worse.

This was a concern that needed to be addressed head-on and right away so it could be substantiated or dismissed.

But Sieger is wrong to dismiss findings by state officials that the town has not conducted its financial business according to state statutes — a fancy word for laws — and to suggest that such a report should be minimized or ignored by those charged with reporting the news or the town’s officials.

To be considered legitimate contenders for bond ratings, grant money and lots of other benefits that go along with a good credit rating, towns have to follow the rules for how money is collected, handled and distributed.

It is kind of like running your business.

If an auditor comes in and finds a procedure has not been executed properly, you get a black mark.

Too many black marks, and the banks will not look too kindly on your next loan application — and neither will those who might invest in your enterprise.

Pikeville officials need to follow the rules — even the ones they see as inconsequential. That’s the entrance fee for being considered a legitimate town and a spot ripe for investment and growth.

So, while there is no reason to storm the castle and demand a press conference to address the allegations levied by the state treasurer’s office, there is certainly reason to point them out and to make sure everyone knows that ignoring the problems is not an option.

Sieger and the town board say they are doing what they need to do to get the findings corrected, which is, by the way, their job. And that is good news for Pikeville residents.

Now this town with so much potential can go about putting together a roadmap for creating an even more prosperous future.

Published in Editorials on February 5, 2008 10:52 AM