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Fayette officials rap controller over memo |

Fayette officials rap controller over memo

| Wednesday, April 10, 2002 12:00 a.m

The Fayette County commissioners Tuesday criticized Controller Mark Roberts and how he handled his concerns about reimbursements at the county’s fledgling transportation operation.

Roberts circulated a memo last week to commissioners and Michelle G. Shumar, director of Fayette Area Coordinated Transit, that voiced concerns about more than $700,000, for which the county had not yet been reimbursed.

“This guy has predicted deficits, said we wouldn’t meet two payrolls, and none of this has panned out. This Chicken-Little-esque management practice I don’t like,” said Commissioner Sean Cavanagh.

Also, Cavanagh and Shumar said Roberts failed to communicate orally before “firing off” the memo.

Roberts responded that Cavanagh didn’t know what he was talking about.

“I sent the memo because the verbal approach wasn’t working,” he said.

Roberts also criticized Cavanagh’s tone.

“So much animosity — he has my sympathy. He is a very angry man. It must be very trying to walk around with that much rage inside,” he said.

The $743,000 owed to the county’s general fund eventually will be paid by the state. Roberts said the state has paid the money due in the past when the amounts were in the range of $200,000.

He said the county is out of $4,000 to $7,000 in investment income because the FACT department had not yet billed the state for reimbursement.

Shumar said her department appeared to have been singled out by Roberts.

“No other county department got an urgent memo like this. I don’t know that it needed to be handled this way,” she said.

But Roberts said his staff has been in frequent contact with FACT staff and also has alerted commissioners’ staff to the issue repeatedly.

Roberts also said he didn’t appreciate being repeatedly referred to as Chicken Little of “the sky is falling” fame by Cavanagh.

“Perhaps he thinks $750,000 is chicken feed,” he said.

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