Day 2 of Barrier hearing ends with no resolution and a relatively dull day of testimony.


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Hope that a hearing to determine if Erath County treasurer Kimberly Barrier should temporarily be removed from office would be decided Thursday dwindled quickly as the testimony of one witness drug on for most of the day.


County auditor Kent Reeves was the first to take the stand where he remained through late afternoon.

Reeves was calm and articulate while explaining to District Attorney Alan Nash that soon after he was appointed county auditor by District Court Judge Jason Cashon in 2019, he began preparing for an annual outside audit when he discovered that Barrier had fallen several months behind in bank reconciliations.


He said he began communicating with Barrier about the issue and Nash presented evidence of an email exchange.

Reeves also testified that during that same time frame, he discovered several other record-keeping issues like receipts and deposits that were recorded weeks and months after they should have been.


After Barrier was pressured to complete the reconciliations, he said she finished several months in a five-day period, but they were riddled with errors.


Reeves' concerns grew stronger after receiving a letter from auditor Jeremy Shell with Boucher, Morgan and Young, which stated that several financial “deficiencies” were discovered during the outside audit.

Reeves said it was the first time in his 30-year career that he had ever received such a letter.


He told the court that if the county’s financial accounting wasn’t corrected quickly, the its interest rates on loans and credit ratings could be affected.


Reeves testified that he offered Barrier help, but she declined.

SHELL TAKES THE STAND


It was after 3 p.m. when Jeremy Shell was finally called to the stand.


Shell testified that while conducting the county’s outside audit, several problems were discovered.


“During that audit, it came to our attention that the bank recs were getting behind, which is a concern,” Shell said.

He went on to say the integrity of the county’s financial stability is based on the internal controls that are in place to alleviate any room for fraud.


When asked if he thought Barrier could correct the issues on her own, he said he was “doubtful.”


“Based on the amount of work that needs to be done, my suggestion would be to get some outside help,” Shell said.


Thursday’s testimony concluded with Shell’s cross examination by Barrier’s attorney Jim Elliott.


Day 3 is expected to begin at 9 a.m. Friday.