- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The executive director of the Nebraska agency that inspects cattle and investigates missing and stolen livestock has resigned following an audit report critical of his management but will continue to work for the organization under a different title but the same salary.

Shawn Harvey resigned Monday as the director of the Nebraska Brand Committee. That followed a July 26 report from the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office that questioned management practices of the committee and focused on actions by Harvey. The report accused Harvey of using a state vehicle for personal trips, making a false entry on an employee’s disciplinary form and attempting to mislead a state auditor.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office told the Omaha World-Herald on Tuesday that it is reviewing the auditor’s findings for possible criminal violations.

While the committee’s five-member board accepted Harvey’s resignation, it rehired him for the newly created position of chief investigator and director of field operations for the same salary he had made as executive director: $72,000.

Committee Chairman Jerry Kuenning defended that action, saying Harvey was cooperative throughout the audit and while Brand Committee members investigated the report’s allegations. Kuenning also said Harvey provides “real value” for the agency, with his knowledge of inspectors, cattle producers and sale barns.

“He is a good man,” Kuenning told the Lincoln Journal Star. “He has been a problem solver, not a problem maker.”

Harvey didn’t return a message from the World-Herald seeking comment.

The committee was formed in 1941 to protect livestock owners from theft through a system of brand inspections. The $4.7 million agency is funded with inspection fees charged for each head of cattle sold in the western two-thirds of the state. Members of the committee board are appointed by the governor.

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