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Out of office, Buddy Johnson still under fire

Hillsborough Commissioners criticized former Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson today for leaving his office in a financial mess.

Elections Supervisor Phyllis Busansky outside of county commission chambers Wednesday. But by all accounts and several accountants, Busansky has a big job ahead of her.Former elections head Buddy Johnson appears to have left the office in a financial crisis. Just how big? Well, right now, no one knows for sure. "I've been audit director for nine years and I've never run across something like this," said Dan Pohto.Pohto's the auditor that county commissioners sent in to examine Johnson's books back in December. But Pohto told commissioners today that Johnson and his Chief of Staff Kathy Harris would not cooperate and provide needed records. "I sent an email and left a voice mail for the Chief of Staff of the Supervisor's Office; as of today I have never heard from her," Pohto said standing before commissioners.And then there's the $2 million bill for voting machines that commissioners thought had already been paid for. "It appears that was a blatant and apparent lie," said Commissioner Kevin White, referring to a previous statement by Harris.And when commissioners talk about finances being in a mess, it's not just numbers on a page. When Busansky's Chief of Staff Craig Latimer went to the elections service center on Falkenburg Road, he found financial records literally in a mess. "They were stacked on the floor, there were boxes, they were on the desk, bank statements with rubber bands around them... quite disarray," Latimer describes.Busansky has hired a financial expert to go through all the records, but it may be weeks before commissioners and taxpayers know exactlyhow their money was spent./>