A report from the Guilford County Internal Audit Department has found no evidence that Sheriff BJ Barnes or his staff inappropriately destroyed documents or removed computers before the arrival of incoming Sheriff Danny Rogers in early December of last year.
The investigation was conducted after Rogers, in a closed session with the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, requested that the county investigate what Rogers believed were instances of Barnes and his staff destroying documents and removing computers before leaving office. This week, Rogers publically accused Barnes and his staff of doing so to sabotage his, Rogers’, transition into office.
According to the report obtained by the Rhino Times on Wednesday, March 13, “Internal Audit substantiated that documents were shredded; however, it appears that these documents were personal in nature (e.g., applications for Sheriff Association membership) or duplicates of official County documents held elsewhere (e.g., PA52 forms held in HR).”
The report noted that the shredding of documents was a “common occurrence” in the department and stated, “The volume of shredded documents appears to have not significantly increased during the transition per cleaning staff. “
It added, “Outdated annual texts (e.g., NC Sheriffs’ Association Annual book) were disposed of and appear to have caused the initial concern.”
The report also states that Internal Audit requested permission to inquire of current personnel and administrative staff if vital documents were missing, but stated that no response to that request had been received by the auditors.
Rogers also made claims that computers were removed from the Sheriff’s Department. The report states that computers were moved but not removed.
“Internal Audit confirmed that computers for the new Administration’s Command Staff were removed; these computers were secured within the Sheriff’s Offices,” it stated. “These computers were removed to facilitate the installation of new/updated machines, per standard Sheriff’s Office computer usage practices.”
Rogers was given a copy of the report last week and, since he made his public comments about the previous administration on Tuesday, March 12, it appears evident that he does not agree with the findings.
Max Benbassat, the public information officer for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, said there was some miscommunication between the Sheriff’s Department and Internal Audit that resulted in a failure of the auditors to completely explore the situation. He said that, for instance, the auditors didn’t come out to the department and look at the actual files. Benbassat said the Sheriff’s Department is currently working to clear up the miscommunication issue and provide the audit department with the facts it needs to properly investigate further.