Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady says the theft of over $25,000 dollars by the former County Clerk was a regrettable mistake.
Amanda Stafford pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of theft over $2,500 dollars. Stafford resigned her office earlier this month.
“Unfortunately this is something none of us want here in Jackson County,” Heady said. “At the same time, good people make mistakes, and any time we make mistakes, there’s always repercussions. Unfortunately, that’s what has come out here.”
Stafford was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $10,000 dollars in restitution.
A Tennessee Comptroller’s Report on the case was also released Thursday. It found Stafford stole at least $25,643 dollars between May 2018 and December 2019. The report also states that she used stolen funds to pay for personal expenses.
Heady said he is ready for the office to move forward with new leadership. The County Clerk office is on the ballot for the August 6 election. In the meantime, Chief Deputy Clerk Brandon Stafford has assumed responsibilities.
“He’s doing a good job,” Heady said. “He’s having to learn a lot and be quick on his feet. Going forward, we’re trying to make sure the money we bring in is being taken down to the bank and getting deposited. It has a whole lot to do with making daily deposits or your deposits within three business days.”
In a budget meeting Thursday night, Brandon Stafford said that for the time being, the office will be staffed by himself and one other clerk. The county hopes to wait until after the election to make any staff additions.
Heady responded to the Comptroller’s assertions that many government entities across the state not having enough oversight in handling money. Heady said, even as the elected County Mayor, there is only so much he can do in other county offices.
“A County Mayor has all the responsibility with absolutely no authority,” Heady said. “My job is to go in and do anything I can to help the Clerk’s Office moving forward.”
State officials discovered the missing funds when auditors did a surprise cash count at the clerk’s office in October 2018.