Committee comes up with four suggestions for County Commission to address in next month's meeting
The Knox County Audit Committee on Tuesday came up with four possible remedies for officials to address that are tied to problems in the criminal court clerk's office: Do nothing, look solely at financial transactions, analyze policies and procedures, or bring in an arbiter to combat a "he said, she said" situation.
The move comes as Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey battles accusations that mistakes in her office have led to wrongful arrests, defendants kept in jail past their release dates, and erroneous charges. County leaders say office workers are entering the wrong data into the records management system, losing crucial paperwork and providing defendants, prosecutors, and authorities with bad information.
"I would bring this discussion to (the Knox County) Commission and the choices and ask them what they want this group to oversee," said committee Chairman Joe Carcello. "We'll have better information (then)."
The plan at this point is for audit committee members and commissioners Ed Shouse, Amy Broyles and Dave Wright to bring the suggestions to the board during November's meeting.
That also will give officials time to look through some of the information that McCroskey supplied them during Monday's commission meeting that she says explains some of her office's mistakes.
"I hear there's no problems, then I hear Ms. McCroskey say that there seems to be minimal problems, and I see emails from people on the streets that they're seeing dollar signs . . . and then I see things from the (District Attorney's) Office and the judges that seem to be credible," said Shouse, who was still mulling what direction he will suggest to other commissioners.
"I don't know what I'll recommend at this point," he said.
Broyles agreed, and said she expects "a good discussion."
"There are obviously problems . . . (as) none of this just came out of thin air," she said. "There are policies and procedural issues that I'm concerned about.
She also said officials should "know what happened in the past in order to know what we need to improve."
Broyles added that she's "not interested in any kind of gotcha," but rather something "that is in everyone's best interest in the county – McCroskey, the DA, the judges, the commission . . . so that there is credible information about whether this is a problem that needs to be addressed of if this is much ado about nothing."
The commission, though, might opt to do nothing, something Carcello said "is also reasonable."
"To the extent that there's litigation it may be best not to do anything and leave it to the law department," he said.