Group Questions Budget Officer's Qualifications

Some questions are being raised in Smith County about the man hired to craft a new budget.

Budget officer Jeff Clark has worked for the county for five months. Now, the Employees Association is claiming he lied on the resume he used to get the job.

"As far as I'm concerned, he lied about having a degree in finance," said Employee Association President Russell Buffington.

Buffington believes one line on Clark's resume is not true. He says it specifically states Clark received a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Information requested from the university shows that Clark's B.B.A. was in Management. County Judge Becky Dempsey was one of those involved in looking into Clark's background. She says she feels comfortable he's telling the truth.

"Resumes are intended for people to look at you. If you're applying for a budget officer job and you had some emphasis in finance, I don't think that's improper to put that on your resume."

Judge Dempsey also points to Clark's background as a Chief Financial Officer and Finance Manager for the past 20 years. It's something she feels qualifies him for the job.

"Obviously education is important as respect to this position but, I can't speak for the court, but what got my attention was his qualifications and his experience and his references bore that out."

That's something the Employees Association disagrees with.

"Even if his resume does show him to have these qualifications, falsification of a resume is something I couldn't see past."

Attempts to speak with Clark were unsuccessful.

This isn't the first time such allegations have come up in Smith County. In May of last year, former budget officer Shirley Herron resigned. She was accused of operating without an accounting license, which she claimed to have.

Chris Gibson, reporting