JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The chairman of the state parole board released a statement defending board member Betty Lou Jones, accused in the state auditor’s report of misappropriating more than $47,000.
Chairman Steven Pickett said, “Let me be clear, Betty Lou Jones has not misappropriated one penny and receipts were turned in for the years this report cited. While receipts may have been delayed in being processed, no reports were rejected or questioned.”
Picket criticized the auditor for not contacting Jones or her supervisor before releasing the report.
Here’s the full statement:
Today an Auditors Compliance Review Management Report was released that included findings that accuse Parole Board Member Betty Lou Jones of misappropriating $47,431.18.
“Mrs. Jones is the Senior Serving Member of Parole Board with twelve years of service. She drives to Jackson multiple times a week. The Parole Board is a full-time job not a part time job. Let me be clear, Betty Lou has not misappropriated one penny and receipts were turned in for the years this report cited. While receipts may have been delayed in being processed, no reports were rejected or questioned,” said Parole Board Chairman Steven Pickett.
“Days before Christmas is not time to raise questions about $47,000 without sending a single email, letter, phone call or inquiry to the accused or supervisor. Unfortunately, in today’s endless news cycles, mentioning someone’s name in a financial scandal story gives the impression of wrong doing and corruption. There is not a corrupt bone in Betty Lou Jones and in public life all you have is your reputation. The total budget for travel for the parole board is $25,000 annually. This fund pays the expenses of members who travel from different parts of the state weekly. In the past there have been members from North Mississippi to the Coast. The state reimbursement schedule for milage and food is spelled out,” said Pickett.
Annually, the Parole Board reviews approximately 8,000 cases