January 19, 2015

Karen Degges' desk

Karen Degges’ desk

Could it be lost on Karen Degges’ desk?

Each year the county is required by law to have an audit. Since the county’s year end is June 30th, the audit is due by December 31st. We haven’t seen the audit for June 30, 2014 yet, and have had no answers from the BOC when they have been asked when it will be presented.

No one can remember when the Jasper County audit has ever been late, that is until Karen Degges was hired and was in charge of handling the audit. The CPA firm presented the audit last year on January 27, 2014 for the year ended June 30, 2013. Mark Hardison, a principle in the firm that has been doing the county audit, informed the commissioners that there had been “delays more than difficulties.” He also revealed several significant findings.

All this is similar to what happened in Baldwin, GA where Ms. Degges was first the Finance Director and then the City Administrator. The editor of the newspaper wrote an editorial informing Ms. Degges that she should be more worried about getting out the audit that was many months past due rather than hiding documents from the public and the press.

See the editorial here

Or here: http://www.taxdogs.com/011915DeggesSecrecyBaldwin.html

If you don’t want to read all of this excellent editorial, please read the parts we have highlighted. They are very telling.

When in Baldwin, GA Ms. Degges increased the budget to pay herself and hire more people to help her, and of course, raised taxes by 2 mils in doing so.   Sound familiar? She started here as the County Manager/Finance Director. She then hired a separate finance director, has moved the EMS billing clerk in the office to help her, in addition to the 2 other women in the office. That is now 5 people in that office. Ms. Degges has advertised for another person—an administrative assistant to also help her. We are sure she has been busy convincing the BOC to hire someone else. We are also sure she has told them “it can be covered in the budget” with all the “savings” she somehow finds. Yet, we had a 2.15 mil increase under her FY15 budget.

The audit just may reveal where the county stands financially, and it may not be where Ms. Degges has led the BOC to believe it is. The longer the delay, the longer she can keep up her spending and the longer she can keep adding more and more personnel to do her job for her.

Last year when the audit came in with so many significant findings, Ms. Degges blamed Lorri Smith. This year, not long after the end of the fiscal year (June 30th) when the audit work was to begin, Ms. Degges first moved Phyllis Studdard out of Finance (August) and over to P&Z, and then fired her (October).   We feel certain this was so Ms. Degges would have someone else to blame if things didn’t turn out the way she said they would—she has repeatedly told the BOC that everything was within budget.

After the last audit presentation (1/27/14), Comm. Gene Trammell made the following comment, “We have a good person now [Karen Degges], and we’ll have a clean opinion next year.” He said this after the CPA talked about all the findings and problems. We can only hope Comm. Trammell is right, but we have our doubts. If everything is so good, the audit should have already been completed by now.

TWG wishes The Monticello News would keep a closer eye on what goes on and the financial health of our county. Here is how Mr. Buffington closed his editorial:

The Banks County News will keep the spotlight on Degges and Baldwin financial operations. If Degges persists in efforts to hide city documents or hold secret meetings, we will respond in whatever means necessary to keep citizens informed.



Mission Statement:

** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed as to where and how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and laws being discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending, and lower property taxes.



This entry was posted in Budgets, County, Open Government and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Joe says:

    Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said the buck stops here. It looks like everything possible stops on this desk and nothing can be accomplished. If the county manager does try to blame any other employee for problems commissioners need to look real hard at that. She is in charge of everything and she and she alone is to blame for anything that goes wrong. She only wants to take credit when things are good. This is not a good sign of a leader.

  2. Missy says:

    How can anyone get anything done with this mess?? There are 3 cups (1 solo cup and 2 styrofoam cups) that should be in the trash. Not sure if the apple in the middle of the desk is a snack or a paperweight. If county business is managed as well as the paperwork on the desk, we are in deep trouble.

  3. Teresa says:

    This desk is a disgrace. No wonder the audit was not completed on time. No GFOA award this year. No transparency. What is next? Missing money? The 2013 CAFR has more than enough findings to terminate the previous Finance Director and County Manager. The 2014 CAFR will never see the light of day with this administration.

  4. Sam says:

    Is this really our County Manager’s desk? If so, she may need to hire two more assistants. One to organize her desk and keep it organized. The second as room monitor for public meetings. This way a person sneezing, coughing or farting can quickly be identified and admonished and eventually banished from meetings.

  5. For everyone who reads the blog and is able to see facts that are presented by the blog such as documents, video coverage and if we are not offended by how much lack of courtesy the commissioner’s and county manger have for our tax dollars and how they act like we work for them instead of the other way around, I mean really do you have to have a policy for people not to be able to sneeze or cough in a meeting, is this the priority or is this a vendetta for karen degges because she does not like to be challenged or have light shown on how incompetent she is, the fact is that she can’t put her money where her mouth is, if Baldwin Ga. got the same results as we are getting here then obviously this is the real karen degges, they weren’t happy with her and alot are not happy with her here so Why is she still here? She wants everyone else to be accountable for their actions but she does not want to be questioned that usually is behavior for someone who is not on the up and up, time for us to take our blindfolds off and stand up for what is right!

  6. Linda Collins says:

    This is totally unacceptable. The disorganization on her desk alone should give the commissioners a hint on how she does/doesn’t do her job. It you can’t clean your office desk at the end of the day, how do you know where to start the next day?

  7. Cheryl Nowetner says:

    just take a look at how Trammell and Degges left previous counties they work for. IN DEBT!!!!! the only thing they know how to do is lie, spend, lie some more and blame everyone else for all their short comings and there are many. Pray this county is not so far in debt that daylight will never be seen.

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