Audit focuses on Greene Co. Circuit Court clerk

A state audit detailed 10 areas of deficiencies in in the Greene Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A state audit detailed 10 areas of deficiencies in in the Greene Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. Among them, that oversight in the office is inadequate, that money is not being properly billed and collected, and that records are not kept well.

Susan Duckworth was first elected in 2019. The audit covers April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.

“Very, very disappointed,” Greene County Board of Supervisors Chair Marie Durrer said.

Durrer has seen the audit, and as a former clerk herself, says the stories about Duckworth being absent worry her.

“I’ve heard and this is all hearsay, but I’ve heard she’s never coming in,” Durrer said.

Other county staff - who declined to go on camera - tell NBC29 that Duckworth has not been in the office consistently since June of 2020 and not been in the office at all since March of this year.

“You need to be responsive and responsible, and she’s not being responsible for her job, as well as to the citizens who voted,” Durrer said.

Attorney John Pierce has clients in Greene Co., and says he has never spoken with Duckworth.

In a written statement to NBC29, Pierce said, “I have appeared in almost every jurisdiction in the commonwealth during my career and I have never encountered a situation where the Clerk of Court was completely absent (either for medical or personal reasons) and did not arrange for a replacement within a reasonable period of time. I feel comfortable using the term ‘unprecedented in my experience.”

“It is imperative that record keeping is happening and it’s happening accurately. So every single year an audit happens, and it’s pretty unlikely because of all the roles and responsibilities that clerks have that an audit comes back with 100% accuracy,” AC Reiman, NBC29′s legal analyst, said.

Duckworth is an elected official. Accountability is in the hands of the people of Greene County.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any thing that we can do as far as the county or the Board that I’m aware of. She’s a constitutional officer, she’s elected, so the citizens will have to work on getting her out if that’s what they wish,” Durrer said.

According to state code, in order to remove an elected official a petition must be signed by at least 10% of the original number of votes cast. A total of 6,384 people voted in the 2019 clerk election, so 638 signatures would be needed.

The county’s commonwealth’ attorney says he has heard of a recall petition circulating, but declined to say more.

NBC29 reached out to Duckworth for her side of all of this. She was not available Tuesday, July 19. We’re hoping to speak with her soon.

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