• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Burleigh County CFO resigns amid commission concerns

ByChad J. Johnson

Nov 3, 2022

Burleigh County Chief Financial Officer Robin Grenz resigned following an employee performance review that gave her the option of resigning or being fired.

His departure follows critical audit findings and an error in collecting taxes for the local library.

Grenz did not immediately respond to a message from Tribune seeking comment on Thursday.

She resigned on Wednesday, effective immediately, following a special county commission meeting related to her performance review.

Commissioner Brian Bitner said Grenz ‘chose to resign’ following a committee vote ‘on his performance review’ in which the board gave him the option of resigning or being fired .

Bitner said the commission’s “unanimous consensus” was that Grenz was not up to the task of continuing in his position due to concerns over the audit’s findings of errors in the way the county handled federal coronavirus aid, the error in tax collection for the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library, and Grenz not being a certified public accountant.

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Bitner referred the Tribune to Grenz for further questions. He said he “would have no problem serving as a reference for her in applications for a new opportunity.”

“My goal was to be fair and decent with her. She did great service to Burleigh County while employed,” Bitner said.

The audit findings were “not the primary concern” related to Grenz, he said, citing unclear federal guidance on coronavirus aid.

The county spent about $976,000 of the funds. Errors included the use of money to cover expenses incurred prior to the period in which the funds could be applied and the lack of adequate supporting documentation for certain transactions. Other counties have similar audit results, according to the state auditor’s office.

“Plans and policies, procedures need to be put in place to respond (to the unclear federal guidelines), and we believe a CPA would be needed to do that,” Bitner said.

He added: “The individual cases weren’t the issue. There was just a combination of cases that the Burleigh County Commission was concerned about.”

Grenz had been chief financial officer for nearly three years, he said.

The former Burleigh County chief financial officer offered to help as needed after Grenz left, according to Bitner.

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Contact Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or [email protected]