Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Audit and Finance

The Board Audit and Finance Committee meets tomorrow. No agenda posted online yet.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

d'ya mean what passes for their meeting minutes?

Mr Ed

emeraldkity said...

wow I thought minutes were so that someone who had missed the meeting ( or was too busy checking mail on their Blackberry) could go back and follow what was discussed & decided.

why even bother?

Anonymous said...

Why bother? Well, it's a slam dunk that would probably award parents and taxpayers a victory and legal fees. The "scofflaw" culture (my favorite phrase at the moment) would have to take a step back from their arrogance.

Mr Ed

emeraldkity said...

well, yes I was being sarcastic- but it leaves an interested party about as frustrated as this businessman

The following illustrates how precise obedience can entirely miss the intent of what has been asked of us:

A businessman was checking out of his hotel when he realized his briefcase was missing. "Boy," he said to the bellhop, "run up to room 1484 and see if I left my briefcase there. And hurry. I'm late leaving for the airport." The man waited anxiously. Finally, the bellhop came running up and panted, "Yes, it's still there."

Charlie Mas said...

The Agenda is now up.

Here are the discussion topics:

Committee Discussion
1. Financials – K. Technow 20 min
2. Audit Response – R. Lirio 10 min
- Special attention to status of item #AE3.1
3. Ethics Program Presentation – N. Treat 20 min
4. Kindergarten Tuition – K. Technow 15 min
5. Budget 30 min
6. Internal Auditor Position – D. Kennedy 10 min
7. Proposed dates for additional committee meetings 5 min


This is some VERY interesting stuff.

Item 2 on the discussion list is an update on the Audit Response Log. The reference for special attention, AE3.1, was the superintendent's conflict of interest. On the audit response log, the status is listed as "Completed" and the Description says: "The Superintendent has publicly disclosed all applicable relationships. (October 2009)" This statement is, of course, known to be false. The superintendent did not disclose her seat on the board of the Alliance for Education nor her seat on the board of the Council of Great City Schools. I brought this to Director Carr's attention, and she is addressing it. Good for her.

Item 3 on the discussion list is a presentation on the Ethics program. The District has been busy with a number of Ethics Complaints. The procedure has been standardized a bit with a form.

Item 4 is a discussion of Pay for K. There are a lot of questions here. Yes, there is the problem with the vendor's apparent inability to collect, track or report the payments. That's bad, but there is the whole other question about the District's ability to charge and demand the payment in the first place. What will the District do if people don't pay? What CAN the District do if people don't pay?

Finally, item #6, at the budget meeting tonight we learned that the District is looking to hire not one, but three internal auditors. I think they also want to revise the internal auditor's charge.

Should be a good meeting.

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is the failure of the district's policy, site or form, Ethics Policy page, to reference RCW 28A.635.050.

Mr. Ed
P.S. emeraldkity, I like sarcasm!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually they want to hire 2 as they have hired 1 internal auditor. That was my understanding. Sherry thinks for our size we should have 5-6 but that isn't going to happen.

MAPsucks said...

I'm gratified to see DeBelle push back on the AE3.1 "Completed" garbage. He said the crux of the matter was the timing of MGJ's disclosure, namely AFTER the first official NWEA contract was voted on by the Board. Glad they're not giving her another "pass" on her ethically-challenged management style. Teeheehee

Charlie Mas said...

MAPsucks,

Did you attend this meeting? Can you report on it more fully?

Dorothy Neville said...

Charlie, there were a huge bunch of people there. Yes, Ronic said that they would reword the audit response log to reflect more tightly the exit item pertaining to NWEA (so therefore even though the Alliance and CGCS wasn't disclosed, it wouldn't matter). However, Michael pointed out the impossibility of stating that that particular item was addressed because one cannot change the past and the NWEA affiliation was not disclosed prior to the contract approval.

They talked further about being on boards and disclosing. Noel did point out that while our policy does follow the law, other public institutions like the port and the city are more stringent with their language of indirect financial interest.

What never came up was that no matter how transparent and well known any affiliation is, when there is a contract to approve one MUST disclose at THAT meeting, in the minutes, the affiliation and recuse themselves from the vote.

(I was knitting and not taking good notes, so this is from my aging memory. Melissa took notes as did several other attendees, so they can clarify and add.)

MAPsucks said...

Charlie,

Unfortunately, there was some discussion about somehow distinguishing (I read automating) disclosures on boards where, by virtue of one's position, there's a board appointment; contrasting this from elective Board memberships. I don't like that idea because it takes the onus off the "auto-director" to disclose and recuse.

One irony I found was the lengthy ethics discussion of making managers just as culpable as their staff for failing to meet ethics requirements. Quite a bit of harrumphing. This has been the precise failing of the School Board, to police its most ethically-challenged employee. The fish rots from the head, so to speak.

I might have to lighten up on Mr. Treat, though. I want to believe that he knows the right thing to do (except in matters TFA) and will do it. He's walked into a buzzsaw not of his own making.

MAPsucks said...

Dorothy, that's it! Way to tell them to stick to the knitting! Namely, educating our kids.

Charlie Mas said...

They can make all of the distinctions they want between the Board seats that they are invited to accept as a consequence of their office and others, but the law makes no such distinction.

Furthermore, a lot of their board seats are a consequence of their office. Does anyone think that Maria Goodloe-Johnson would be on the United Way of King County board if she were not the superintendent of Seattle Public Schools? if she were just some other executive new to the area?

Charlie Mas said...

Here's my favorite part: "there were a huge bunch of people there"

There are now a lot more people turning out for committee meetings.

The Board is feeling the heat.

Braessae said...

Also -- IF you have a conflict (by virtue of sitting on the board of an entity that is seeking a contract with another entity that employs you (or on whose board you sit), it is not sufficient to just recuse yourself from voting. You should also not participate in the discussions (ANY of them -- internal or at public meetings) involving the contract. In many organizations, directors with conflicts leave the room during discussions where they have conflicts.

Yes, it needs to be disclosed at the meetings where it is up for a vote, but really -- there is much more to it than that. And this doesn't just go for the NWEA contract. If MGJ sits on the Broad Board, it also implicates the hiring decisions with respect to all those Broad interns. Those decisions should have been totally free (from application through hiring) of any influence of MGJ if she was on the Broad board at the time. Anyone think that was the case?

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