Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A tradition of "obscured bureaucracy".

The latest findings have been released by the State Auditor. No surprises.

2006-2007 Accountability Audit and Findings
2006-2007 Financial Audit and Findings

Let's review the facts:

The State Auditor totally missed an obvious case of embezzlement over many years. Only after it was pointed out by district staff were they able to start their evaluation. To date, the full impact of the theft has yet to be determined. There have only been estimates.

The State Auditor's report was available prior to the election, but not made available to the public until one week after the Tech Levy election. In fact, the report is dated April 18th and yet "issued" on May 27th. The
findings were mentioned during a school board meeting on May 20, 2008, and yet the voter's didn't have a chance to read the report until today.

The State Auditor established
a toll-free tip line for citizens to direct complaints and concerns. This information is still available on the Auditor’s website and yet they also seek to "reduce the overall number of findings" while remain "free both in fact and in appearance from personal, external and organizational impairments to independence". Whistleblowing, by its very nature, is external and weakens independence. If the State Auditor routinely conducted a more comprehensive evaluation, there would be far fewer whistles to blow.

Members of the public have directed their concerns to the State Auditor’s Office and our server activity clearly shows the number of visits to our site and the total time the Auditor spent here.

The State Auditor concluded that only two issues warrant actual findings and these two items were included in their annual report. This could only mean that the level of corruption and inappropriate conduct within the District must be relatively constant, since the number of findings has been relatively constant over the last several years.

It could also mean that if an investigation was launched into these issues, then evidence was either destroyed or, also very likely, the State Auditor does not view the sort of misconduct cited as relevant and perhaps entirely within the realm of normal business conduct. This would be the same auditor, and therefore the same standard, applied to all public entities in the State of Washington.

Furthermore, the statements made by the District appear to suggest that a “change in personnel” was at their direction and in response to previous audit findings related to property leases and rental arrangements. No notifications or comments have ever been made to previous staff regarding the need for changes in personnel and no action has ever been taken to address previous audit findings regarding leases and rental revenue.

With the timing of the Auditor’s release of these findings, one week after a Tech Levy, it has become abundantly clear that the Auditor’s office seeks to protect and preserve the current state of mismanagement at the Edmonds School District.


Anonymous said...

"We're going to be able have access to more information because they're looking in places that auditors don't," Sonntag said. "They could point us to things that an audit wouldn't normally reveal."

Anonymous said...

I would have been more surprised if they HAD found something; documents destroyed, yada yada. The good ol' boys network strikes again. Everybody protects their own.

ESD15.org said...

There are a number of other paths to follow now.

I will update the blog as each path unfolds.

Thank you for reading.


Anonymous said...


Don't you just love Millers audacity!  Reading her comments in the Board Minutes it is apparent that business is as usual at ESD.    Let's see, in the first paragraph Miller talks about a "scheme".  Nothing new there.  Second paragraph, "expenditures are closely monitored". A bigger cover up may be in the making NO DOUBT. Third paragraph, the auditor amends audit with "feedback from ESD". Dah! Fourth paragraph, Miller "is ready to market the old ESC and transportation sites (again and again and again, etc.). Oh boy, more field trips and bogus land deals with which Miller can fleece the District's taxpayers with.

ESD15.org said...

I spoke too soon. Apparently, there is more to come.

Stand by, stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled.