Perry County Finds Itself in Hot Water Due to Audit

There’s an interesting situation going on Perry County, Pennsylvania. Auditor Kimberly McMullen may have put the county in some hot water due in a recent interview.

First, she’s demanding permission from the County to spend $6,700 in legal fees to have lawyers research whether she’s allowed access to the confidential files of license to carry holders. (The sheriff won’t hand all of the records over because he notes that that it’s against the law to release the personal information.) The County gave her $2,000 to pursue it instead. Second, she told the media that the law supposedly changed last year and that she would have had access before that “change.”

Well, attorney Josh Prince is doing the taxpayers of Perry County a favor and helping them save $2,000 on legal research. He sent a letter to the auditor making clear that the license to carry applicant information is not to be released to her.

However, McMullen’s claims that the records were available in previous years caught Prince’s attention since he noted that the section of law he cited hasn’t changed since 1997. Oops. McMullen may be regretting that claim since Prince included this little gem in the letter:

Thus, the confidentiality of firearms license information is nothing new and the County and its respective Departments, employees and agents are liable for any disclosures that have occurred. Based on your statement to reporter Sean Sauro that prior to a year ago, all this information was available via right-to-know law requests, I am requesting all information on previous LTCF applicant disclosures by the County and its respective Departments, employees and agents.

So, sorry Perry County taxpayers. Because your auditor doesn’t know the law, now you have to spend resources going through all paperwork to see if the confidential information has ever been released before. Oops.

10 thoughts on “Perry County Finds Itself in Hot Water Due to Audit”

        1. Yeah because the last time he was in a courtroom he got a court to uphold the preemption law against Erie. We can’t have him do that now, can we?

  1. Why on earth does a county auditor need the personal information of CCW holders? Checking for mistaken permit issues? Falsified applications? Seems more like a witch hunt than anything else.

    1. No, they are checking the county’s finances. Most of the fee stays in the county, and they note that some rejected apps are due partial refunds. They want to cross check the apps to the financial books. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy of any kind, just an auditor who doesn’t seem to understand that, unfortunately for her, there are confidential documents she cannot review.

      1. Yes, but why do they need names? Why not “X permit applications, Y denials, etc..”? Or, if they need something spelled out, howzabout a list of John Doe 1, John Doe 2, John Doe 3, etc?

        Unless she’s going to verify that those people all got permits or whatever, then why does she need the names? If she does suspect some sort of crime, then the police can legitimately become involved and have legitimate access to those names. I’m just not seeing why she wants those names right off the bat.

      1. Does not compute. If they know they issued 1000 LTCFs, then they should have collected 1000 x $20 (or $19). They don’t need names for that. Surely they know how many LTCFs they issued. If they get the names, what good are they over just having a number – unless they’re going to call every person on the list and verify that they paid?

        If the auditor suspects criminal activity, she should bring in law enforcement to get legitimate access to the list of names, and I guess call everyone on the list or whatever silliness they plan to do. Failing that, they should just institute a procedure going forward that makes fraud difficult to impossible, like having a trusted entity print the LTCFs, and have that entity able to provide a simple number of LTCFs printed for future audits.

        1. You should spend a day working in gov’t, you’d see how creative and sloppy some people can be when it involves your money. The auditor is the first step before law enforcement. I was involved, in my 6 years in PA county gov’t, with four cases where elected officials were prosecuted. All the cases started out after audit irregularities.

          Now, in PA, the auditors or controller’s office is the only real oversight of an elected row officer. Really the voters have the ultimate say, but that’s a joke.

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