After a statewide news gathering service reported that State Auditor Mike Foley’s office was accusing the Valentine-based Niobrara Council of alledged improper payments to staff, KVSH Radio talked with staff and a council member.

The nonprofit council helps to manage the Niobrara Scenic River in conjunction with the National Park Service. The council was established to help protect landowners rights from government overreach.

During the investigation, the auditor’s office received citizen complaints about the council’s office hours. The source of the complaints has not been identified.

The report also noted the council’s board did not have a formal policy or review procedure to ensure leave records were properly maintained.

As with other auditor’s reports for small entities, Foley’s report cites a lack of proper procedure and oversight in operations to ensure improprieties don’t occur. There are no charges against the council or staff merely recommendations on implementing more detailed procedures.

In a formal response to the written report, the Niobrara Council would have a closer examination of the possible problems and would use standing committees to “best relate to the subject of the comment or recommendation within the report.”

Council committee meetings will be held in July to address Foley’s recommendations.

The Niobrara Council will hold their next meeting at the NRD office in Valentine on August 15th at 1pm.