A former field investigator for the Nebraska Brand Committee says the panel needs to be investigated along with former Director Shawn Harvey. Harvey resigned last week but was then given a new title on the committee at the same pay, $107,ooo a year.
Former investigator Rick Bickford says the problem with the Brand Committee involves more than just Harvey.
“I think it’s a cover-up,” Bickford says. “I think that shows there may be more to this than just Director Harvey. The definitions of the positions, like the executive director, are in Nebraska state statutes and to go outside that statute without legislation letting you is a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
A recent state audit discloses sloppy bookkeeping, personal use of a state-owned vehicle, releasing a check for livestock before paperwork had cleared, among other problems. Bickford says the audit uncovered several issues and the report needs to be examined thoroughly, especially Harvey’s “resignation.”
“There was no reduction in pay and I don’t see that as a reprimand,” Bickford says. “I hope somebody does something because it seems like the director and the committee are both not paying any attention to state statute or law or policy and just doing what they want to to try and cover up an audit that should be dealt with.”
Bickford resigned from his position on the Brand Committee this spring and former Assistant Director Paul Beaver also quit last month.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton