Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) announced late Tuesday afternoon in Jefferson City that she will audit the administrative practices of the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS).
DPS includes the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri National Guard, Capitol Police, the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Gaming Commission and the State Fire Marshal’s office.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) wrote a letter on Tuesday to Galloway, requesting that the Columbia Democrat audit the DPS Director’s office.
Governor Parson appointed then Highway Patrol Colonel Sandra Karsten as DPS director in late August. At the time, Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones told Missourinet the governor replaced Drew Juden at DPS because he “wanted to go in a different direction.”
The governor’s letter to Galloway says Karsten recently finished an internal review of the DPS Director’s office, and that the internal review “raised concerns about questionable use of taxpayer dollars.” Parson’s letter says those concerns “warranted her (Karsten’s) recommendation that the State Auditor conduct an independent review of DPS at the administrative level.”
The letter does not provide specifics about the questionable use of taxpayer dollars. You can read the full letter here. Governor-Parsons-Letter-to-Auditor-Galloway-November-2018
Karsten describes the internal review of the director’s office as concerning. She says an initial review “raised concerns that warranted a more in-depth examination of past public safety administration practices.”
As for Galloway, she’s issued a statement, which notes that as with any review, her office will determine the audit’s scope to appropriately address any concerns brought forward throughout the process.
Auditor Galloway is encouraging anyone with information about questionable use of tax dollars by DPS to call her office’s whistleblower hotline at 1-800-347-8597.
The governor notes the DPS Director’s office hasn’t been audited since 2013.
Drew Juden served as the police chief in southeast Missouri’s Sikeston, before being appointed DPS director by then-Governor Eric Greitens (R) in 2017. Greitens resigned as governor on June 1.
After being dismissed, Juden spoke in early September to Missourinet Cape Girardeau television partner KFVS Channel 12. Juden criticized Governor Parson in that KFVS interview, which Missourinet reported on at the time.
“The message it sent to me is that is doesn’t really matter,” Juden told KFVS. “It’s about politics. It’s about somebody I owe a favor to or a job to. And so you need to move on and make room so I can put them in there.”
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