KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has singled out a former southeast Missouri public administrator in her push for an official misconduct and anti-corruption law.
According to a news release from Galloway's office, she highlighted the actions of former Dunklin County Public Administrator Shawnee Trowbridge.
An audit showed that Trowbridge used money "entrusted to her" on pet supplies and other purchases made on a trip to Florida. She resigned from her position in March 2016.
The audit also showed that she purchased Walmart gift cards with money she was supposed to manage for people who cannot care for themselves. The audit claims she purchased the cards to ensure their assets remained low enough to qualify for Medicaid and in some cases used the cards herself.
By law, public administrators "are assigned by courts to manage the finances of individuals who are unable to care for themselves or their property and have no one else to assist".
Galloway highlighted Trowbridge and 27 other public administrators in her report, which identified issues with annual reporting requirements and a lack of documentation or receipts for purchases.
"Fraud and abuse of taxpayer resources is always disturbing but even more so when it occurs in the office of the public administrator, because they are responsible for managing the finances of some of the most vulnerable members of our community," Auditor Galloway said in her news release. "Older Missourians and individuals with disabilities are often seen as easy targets, and it's disgusting when a public official exploits those who are depending on them for protection."
Galloway said she supposed Senate Bill 176, which increase penalties for public officials who are found guilty of misconduct.
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