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Audit reveals irregularity

GATESVILLE – An annual audit conducted of Gates County local government finances has unearthed an irregularity that bears further study.

The Gates County Board of Commissioners called an emergency meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. There, the board was expected to immediately adjourn into closed session to discuss personnel issues.

Gates County Manager Toby Chappell told the News-Herald that it was during the course of the annual audit, which was conducted last week, that a financial irregularity was discovered.

“I was notified by the auditor and, in turn, I notified the commissioners,” Chappell said. “The board opted to call an emergency meeting to discuss what course of action to pursue.”

Chappell would not comment in regards to what county department the financial irregularity was discovered, but he did note that the appropriate agencies had been contacted concerning the issue.

“Any further comment at this point could potentially damage the inquiry into this matter,” Chappell said. “I do not know the timeline the inquiry will take. All we can do at this point is let this situation run its course.”

Gates County has a contract with the audit firm of Martin Starnes & Associates of Hickory.

“We are statutorily required, as are all local government entities, to perform an annual audit,” Chappell said. “This is why audits are performed, to go over the books and look for any type of financial improprieties and bring them to light.”

The News-Herald will have more on this developing story as information is made available.