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Auditor questions transfer of $62,406 worth of items from state treasurer’s office to state auditor’s office

State auditor who had been treasurer brought inventory by Michael R. Wickline | February 9, 2023 at 3:36 a.m.
Arkansas Legislative Auditor Roger Norman (left) and Arkansas Auditor Dennis Milligan are shown in these undated file photos. (Left, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo; right, courtesy photo)

Legislative Auditor Roger Norman has questioned whether the state treasurer's office transfer of 46 items of video and computer equipment and furniture purchased for $62,406 to the state auditor's office between Nov. 9 and Jan. 3 meets the intent of state law.

On Jan. 10, the former state treasurer, Dennis Milligan of Benton, was sworn in as the state's auditor, and former state Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle was sworn in as the state's treasurer. Milligan and Lowery are Republicans.

Milligan spokeswoman Stacy Peterson said Wednesday the state treasurer's office believes it complied with the state law at issue.

"The law allows the transfer if the property is not needed by the agency, and it wasn't needed or wanted," she said.

Lowery said Wednesday that "we had no authority to approve or deny [the transfer of items to the state auditor's office].

"But in my mind, it is like, let it go," he said.

Lowery said he didn't necessarily have a problem with the transfer of the video equipment to the state auditor's office because "I had already planned on using Arkansas PBS and their services" to promote what his office is doing. He said he doesn't plan to appear in his office's promotional efforts.

Norman wrote in a letter to Legislative Joint Auditing Committee Co-Chairs Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville, and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway, R-Paragould, that the 46 items "were purchased with funds appropriated by the General Assembly to the Treasurer of State.

"The only authority we identified that allows for the transfer of property and equipment between state agencies is Ark. Code Ann. 19-4-1503, which allows for the transfer 'if the property and equipment of the agency from which the transfer is made is not needed by the agency at the time of the transfer.'

"We question whether these transfers met the intent of this legislation," Norman said in his letter dated Jan. 19 to Wallace and Gazaway.

According to Norman's letter, the most expensive of the 46 items transferred from the state treasurer's office to the state auditor's office between Nov. 9 and Jan. 3 include a Canon HD camcorder and accessories with a cost of $5,449.87; a 60-inch LCD interactive display with a cost of $5,273.59; a halo ring light and Canon attachment lens and contour with a cost of $3,885.08; an iMAC laptop with a cost $3,341.91; and a secretary cabinet with a cost $3,327.29.

The other items ranged from an IKAN PT3700 teleprompter with a travel case and tripod with a cost of $2,832 to a Vizio 32-inch smart television with a cost of $196.19, according to Norman's letter.

Peterson, who is Milligan's spokeswoman, said, "We requested this review by Legislative Audit in order to be as open and transparent as possible during the transition.

"We maintained an open dialogue with the incoming administration about our intentions as we completed our own transition," she said in a written statement. "It was and is our understanding that these assets weren't needed or wanted by the incoming team."

Deputy Legislative Auditor Tom Bullington said Wednesday that Milligan's office asked the legislative auditor's office to look at the equipment inventory "whenever he was fixing to transfer over to auditor of state.

"We get copies from [the state Department of Finance and Administration] when people request approval to transfer stuff ... so I knew that we had gotten some of those transfers, so as part of that we kind of incorporated that into our equipment inventory," he said. "The list we got we actually got from the treasurer's office."

Print Headline: Transferred items result in questions


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