Okaloosa BOCC Continues Work On Seven Point Plan

By: Drew Steele Email
By: Drew Steele Email

The State Auditor General's Report in the Mark Bellinger case heavily criticized the county for a lack of financial oversight of tourist development council funds.

"Tonight will be our first opportunity as a full commission in a south county meeting to have a full discussion of the final release of the auditor general's report. I think coming along with that discussion will be an update on the seven point plan and perhaps adding additional points to that plan as this process continues” said Commissioner Nathan Boyles.

County Commissioners have already initiated several of the plan's seven points. They've already asked for the resignations of some of the TDC members and the county has developed a litigation strategy. Commissioners are hoping this will help the county's efforts to recover some of the embezzled money, and get Okaloosa County back on track.

"This process we're going to be implementing our responses to the auditor general's report to make sure when they come back in eighteen months the county can be given a clean bill of health for the TDC and then the seven point plan is on the other end of that spectrum outside of policy and procedures" said Boyles.

But they admit they still have a lot more work ahead.

"We want to hire a compliance officer for the TDC that will help not only with the policy and procedures manual but have oversight as far as finances also" said Commissioner Kelly Windes.

Other portions of the seven point plan include sharing more information with the agencies investigating the case, and developing an educational program to clarify employee and department responsibilities.

"I think it'll help the public realize that we are taking some action. There's going to be some changes. We're trying to move ahead toward a future that we can all be a little more sure of get past this tough time" said Windes.

The FBI, FDLE and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's office are all investigating the Bellinger case.


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