Tire thefts could top county record
Four-hundred truck tires that don’t fit a single vehicle the county owns. That is perhaps the most shocking fact from the recently revealed thefts from the county’s motor pool.
The same year as someone authorized the purchase of all those tires the department ran up its biggest expenditure, $395,163.
That’s up quite a bit from the department’s typical expenditures of around $50,000 from back in the last decade.
Prices haven’t come close to increasing that much since the Great Recession, so we believe the department was subject to thievery.
We agree with critics who’ve pointed out that the tire buying was out of control and should have been caught sooner.
District Attorney Mark Jackson’s decision to tackle the internal investigation instead of the criminal case is an indication of how dire the situation was. He told commissioners he felt he had to do the internal investigation to protect the county’s assets.
The doubling of expenditure between 2014 and 2015 coincided with the hiring of a new county manager and his subsequent departure after less than six months.
We’re not sure how much money was spent on tires that never made it onto county vehicles, but it’s not a bad bet that at least half the expenditure was involved over the past four years. That’s around $500,000, which comes close to a record for public embezzlements in Douglas County.
Every check the county writes is public record, and appears on a list in the county commission packets.
Perhaps that fact gives us a false sense of security that someone will spot something in those lists, when it appears no one is paying that close attention.