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Frankfort Local News Politics

Edelen’s First Statewide Audit Makes Familiar Requests to Treasurer, Other Departments

The first statewide audit from new Auditor Adam Edelen has uncovered some familiar problems.

Edelen is required to conduct an audit of all state agencies every year. His first report was released this morning. You can read it here.

In it, Edelen takes many state agencies to task. That includes the Department of Military Affairs and the Kentucky Horse Park, which the report says incurred expensive and unnecessary fees for paying invoices too late.

He also says state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach has yet to fully reconcile the state books on a month-by-month basis. However, the report says the books are in order by the end of the year, which wasn’t the case previously.

The Personnel Cabinet got the harshest review. The report says the cabinet did not test its new data system properly and has been mismanaging it.

The statewide audit comes in two parts. The second part deals with how Kentucky spends its federal grants. It will be released next month.

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Frankfort Local News

Amendment to Eliminate State Treasurer’s Office Clears Senate Committee

A measure to eliminate the office of the Kentucky Treasurer is working its way through the General Assembly again.

Republicans and third party candidates have discussed eliminating the constitutional office for more than four years. GOP Senator Damon Thayer got a constitutional amendment doing so passed out of his chamber in 2008, but the measure later died.

Thayer brought the matter before the Senate State and Local Government committee again today.

“In the opinion of the char this is an archaic office that is no longer necessary,” Thayer said. If this bill does pass I have enabling legislation drafted but not filed that would move the duties of the state treasurer into the Finance Cabinet where I feel they can be handled appropriately.”

The bill passed out of committee on a party line vote, with Democrats opposing the amendment. Thayer calls the office outdated and useless.

“I don’t feel in recent years the treasurer’s office has performed a task requiring 30 employees and a three million dollars budget,” Thayer said. “I think it’s time to put this issue on the ballot and let the voters decide if they want to keep this office.”

Current Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, a Democrat, opposes the measure. He says his office helps balance the state treasury’s books and assists in the unclaimed property program.

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Local News Next Louisville

State Holding Millions In Unclaimed Assets

Kentucky’s treasurer says the state is now holding about $300 million worth of unclaimed assets.

Unclaimed property typically includes savings and checking accounts, stocks and personal property forgotten by their owners.

Sometimes the owners have died and their heirs aren’t aware of the property.

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach says unclaimed property is usually turned over to the state after about three years. Cash doesn’t sit idle; tens of millions of dollars are transferred annually into the state’s general fund.

“Our primary obligation of course is to get it back to the rightful owners. When it comes to us in the form of cash, it goes into the general fund pretty fast quite frankly. But it goes in as a contingent liability,
because we know we might be called upon to return the money to the rightful owner as soon as we find him or her,” he said.

Hollenbach says the state has been receiving about $40 million in overall unclaimed property for each of the last several years. His office keeps a searchable database of the property.