Numerous challenges faced Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel when she took office in 2007, she said Wednesday during a meeting of the Greater Columbia County Republican Women.
When Handel succeeded former Secretary of State Cathy Cox, she "found a mess," she said.
"There was absolute disorder in this agency," Handel said. "We've made some progress but we've got a long way to go."
Spending irregularities in the agency prompted an audit of the office, Handel said.
Some directors in the office once had key cards allowing them to spend up to $5,000 each month on work-related items with little or no accountability, she said.
"Now, we're making sure people do proper planning," she said.
Handel also discovered that many corporations were delinquent on corporate renewal fees. Since taking office, she said, she has recovered more than $3 million in past-due fees.
Handel said she immediately set out to establish an ethics policy for the office after discovering there was none.
Another challenge for Handel was to revise hiring procedures after inheriting a staff in which 30 percent of the employees were related to other staffers.
"The human resources director hired her daughter," she said. "We had two division directors who were brothers."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.