Dec 12 2007
07:50 am

Citing a wish to get out of the spotlight, Steve Kirkham resigned from his position as Chairman of the Roane County Industrial Board in a meeting of the Liaison Committee.


There's this note in the article:

In September he presented Roane County Executive Mike Farmer with a $1 million check, which was said to be the proceeds from land sales collected for five future projects at the Roane Regional Business & Technology Park.

Hmmm...I don't want to sound suspicious but isn't it good business practice to KNOW where a million bucks comes from? Now come the big question...

Has there ever been an audit of the Industrial Board and Roane Alliance Financial dealings? If so, I would like to see it. If not, somebody's ought to be in trouble for gross mismanagement.

At his word

I think I'm willing to take Steve K. at his word in this case, although if you want to be out of the spotlight, I would think paying your bills would help keep you off the front pages.


As I've said before, I do wish he and Jerry Duncan would clear this up one way or the other. If they feel they don't owe it, they need to say so and say why they feel that way. If that isn't the case, they need to pay up.


The article did not say he was leaving the board.

It said he was planning on resigning as CHAIRMAN in January. There's a difference.

Anonymous said: "is he willing to resign the board fully or run the board behind closed doors?"
Cheap shot, IMHO. The board does not function behind closed doors. They generally DO meet early in the morning, however. Wanna attend? Show up. There's no call for that statement, and no indication that it is the intention.

Quoth WC: "Hmmm...I don't want to sound suspicious but isn't it good business practice to KNOW where a million bucks comes from? Now come the big question..."
Methinks saying "I don't want to sound suspicious" was a literary device meaning "I DO want to sound suspicious." You're being suspicious over the REPORTER'S choice of words in the article, not Steve Kirkham's. Those words weren't a quote of Kirkham. And we've seen this reporter using words before in a less than accurate way, haven't we? (Saying Commissioner Dave Olsen had to be "shouted down" by Commission Chairman Troy Beets when I was there and testified here that there was NO shouting. Remember?) Exactly what is there not to believe about saying the million bucks came from where Steve said it came from? I mean the payor and payee on checks ain't exactly secret, is it?

Just precisely what is "gross mismanagement" about getting a check for a million bucks? We gotta audit them now because of a reporter's misuse of words?


I appreciate your clarification, Anonymous...

If, as the article says, he only resigns as Chairman and stays on the board, they will decide on a new Chairman.

The way the board functions, the Chairman doesn't tell the board what to do. The Chairman only chairs the meeting... i.e. runs it and keeps it in order. The board votes. He - or any other member - will have the same level of influence on the board they have had before now, only somebody else will be running the meeting. The level of influence isn't because of holding the position of Chairman - it's because of the relationships the board members have with each other, and that's not likely to change no matter who is runs the meetings. Steve Kirkham has never dictated to the board, and they have taken votes that he has voted a different way. Generally, though, they all tend to work toward a consensus. I said all that to say this: the weight Steve Kirkham carries with the board he will still carry whether he is on the board or not or chairs the board or not. And the same can pretty much be said of each member there: they know each other, respect each other, have worked together a long time, and their relationship and ideas aren't likely to change regardless of Kirkham's position on or off the board.

He may persuade them of something, they may persuade him. It goes back and forth, and that's the way it works.

It still isn't going to be any "behind closed doors." There just isn't that much that's going to change other than the spotlight of being the chair.

All those people have jobs, too. Their jobs happen to include their work on the board. There is no time convenient in these days of how busy people are. Somebody would be unable to attend no matter when they held it. As they are all business people, they hold it during normal business hours, not so they can hide what they do, but because part of their jobs is doing the business of the board.


Where is the audit?

Relating "gross mismanagement" to receiving the check is not what I said and you know that.

The check was apparently a disbursement of funds from some account. What were the receivables? Expenses? Whose money was it anyway? Was there more? Who has access to the account?

We have no information to make assessments with. An audit would allay all fears and...Suspicions.

If there has been no audit, I would call that gross mismanagement and it needs to be corrected.

OK - I'm clearer on what you meant...

I misunderstood... I can do that honestly, ya know.

So not having an audit constitutes gross mismanagement, if I have it right now. If I'm interpreting correctly (a big "if"), you want everything they do/have done audited. They're suspicious. Somebody's hiding something.

"We have no information to make assessments with." So they gotta be screwin' us? Even if we have no information saying they ARE screwin' us, if they don't produce an audit proving they're not, then they are?

Izzat about it?

Has anybody ASKED them and been refused the information? Or should they just assume that nobody trusts them and spend money on audits (at what frequency? since they get such things as these checks from time to time) and publish audit reports every month or so? Then should they be called to task for wasting money? I dunno all the answers. Wish someone did.

I have an inherent problem with some things...

I take a statement such as "We have no information to make assessments with." at face value, i.e. we can't make an assessment. Yet they are assumed guilty of gross mismanagement if they don't spend money publishing audits. But if they did the audits, and didn't mail them to everyone, or put it on free internet to the entire population, would they satisfy anybody?

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? We seem to be operating on the assumption of guilt and wrongdoing even under the affirmative statement of "We have no information to make assessments with."

Is that not inconsistent?


I'm of the impression annual

I'm of the impression annual audits are conducted. The county is audited annually and for 'the year ended June 30, 2006' a notation was made to reference the Roane County Industrial Development Board not being included as their financial statements had not been made available. (page 10 of Report) I'm sure the 2007 report would shed light but I can't put my hand on it at the moment.

You can likely find 2007 here:


Oh yeah, my comment is all agencies should welcome annual audits.

Thanks for the post, Tyler...

AND for the link, which is useful!

I do agree about welcoming annual audits. They're a part of life in such agencies.

I must wonder if there is information showing that the Industrial Development Board does NOT welcome audits, causes problems with audits, etc?

If so there is a problem. If not, there is no problem other than curious people having not gone to the trouble of getting/reading the audits.


Can you find it?

I found nothing past Dec. 2005 at that link. I searched for Roane County records. I'll look some more but so far, I don't see anything that would answer any questions about whether all tax payer money is used for tax payer issues.

The Industrial Development Board

No Audit information was received for the Industrial Development Board according to the audit published at the State Comptroller.

RB, You suspicious yet?

Not yet...

There could be a dozen or more reasons why that was the case. I did note on the older audits that there was information about the IDB on them. So it is established that the IDB does provide data to the auditors, rather than hide it from them. Given the lag time between info getting on these websites and real time, it is entirely possible information has been sent. Maybe not - I obviously don't know. But not every incidence of information not being submitted on time means somebody is doing something dishonest or dishonorable.

I want to see the presence of evidence of wrongdoing before I accuse someone of it, not an absence of evidence.

Different mindset, I reckon.


I noticed the same thing, WC

I imagine at the "State Government" rate of moving things along, it takes a while to get stuff up on that site. I, like you, didn't spend a long time looking - just spent a few minutes there.


Actually the Roane County

Actually the Roane County Audit contains a statement that says the Industrial Development Board financial information is required by GAAP but was not received and then gives the IDB's address and says for us to get it from them.

Two years would be a reasonable amount of time to post an accounting document. Cumberland County has posted theirs and seems to have no ommissions.

Says for who to get it?

I didn't see that (like I said - only spent a few minutes looking on the site).


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