Archive for the ‘Related party transactions’ Category

Linn County’s newly created Code of Ethics

December 13, 2017

To my knowledge, Linn County has never had a written Code of Ethics since its founding. So I was pleased today when the Board of Supervisors approved it on a 5-0 vote.

Now comes the walking-the-talk phase. Will the Supervisors honor the policy they approved? Or did they just go through the motions so that when the outside CPAs doing their annual audit ask: “Hey, do you have an ethics policy?” The Board can answer, “Why yes, we do”. Form over function? Or words to live by? Time will tell. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

20171211111250741.pdf

Code of ethics checkoff

June 23, 2017

Recently, the Finance & Budget Department proposed a Code of Ethics for Linn County’s employees. Seems like a county founded in 1839 should have already had an Code of Ethics, then again, maybe it was not needed until now because all of our moral compasses were in alignment?

In any case, the attachment contains a proposed Code of Ethics. It’s not a very strong policy, e.g., it contains only one potential penalty and that is for theft. And it lacks definitions, e.g., what is “conscientious” performance of duty; what are private interests, private gains, preferential treatment, and special privileges? And how would the Code apply to a County Supervisor’s request for a couple loads of gravel from the Secondary Roads department for a local non-profit?

Please email your company’s code of ethics to mailto:Joel.Miller@linncounty.org I think you probably have some language in your code of ethics that we could borrow to improve the County’s proposed code of ethics, i.e., unless we are just going through the motions to checkoff that box. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor
20170623145302401.pdf

Committee and liaison assignments by County Supervisor

June 8, 2017

According to TaxExemptWorld (4/23/2017), Linn County is home to 1,776 non-profits. The Linn County Board of Supervisors has an active role in over thirty non-profits and/or governmental organizations (see below list and attachment).

Should Supervisors be on the boards of directors (BoD) of local non-profits? Should the County be donating tax dollars to those non-profits? Does having a Supervisor on a non-profit’s BoD give that non-profit an advantage over any other non-profit?

If I was a Supervisor, I would try to avoid being on the BoD of any non-profit. That does not mean that I would not belong to any non-profit, e.g., Rotary, but I would not be on the BoD of my Rotary Club. Agree or disagree? –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

CR/Linn County Solid Waste Agency (3 yr term)
CR Metro Ec. All. Large Investor Council
Corrections – 6th Judicial (3 yr term)
Corridor Metropolitan Planning Org. (BOS term)
Early Childhood Iowa Board
ECICOG (3 yr term)
MEDCO (District IV Supervisor)
Public Art Commission
Public Health Board
Transportation Policy Committee
Area Ambulance (2 yr term)
E-911 Service Board (b)
Housing Fund for Linn County
Workforce Development CEO Board
ASAC (rotate annually)
Continuum of Care
Decategorization
Emergency Management Agency (EMA)
Heritage Agency on Aging
Legislative – State
Local Homeless Coordinating Board
MH/DS of the East Central Region Governing Brd.
Academy for Scholastic & Personal Success
The Arc of East Central Iowa
Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation
Hawkeye Downs
Highway 30 Coalition
Linn County Fair Board
Linn County Gaming Commission
New Bo City Market Board
Prospect Meadows
Safe, Equitable, Thriving Comm. Commission
Selective Service Board
Trees Forever Board of Advisors

The attachment is an Excel file with an individual page/tab of committee and liaison assignments for each individual supervisor.

After you open the attached Excel file, you will see seven separate tabs at the bottom of the page. The first five tabs are the committee and liaison assignments for each individual supervisor; the sixth tab is all five board member committee and liaison assignment lists merged into one document; and the seventh tab is the Excel spreadsheet of committee and liaison assignments created at the beginning of the year.

2017 Board and Liaison Assignments by Supervisor.xlsx

Paper appointments?

March 10, 2016

Earlier this week, Ms. Dedra Beauregard wrote a letter to the editor of the Linn News-Letter (3/8/2016) questioning the full-time employment status of Linn County’s five Supervisors?  She mentioned the Board’s meetings held three times per week and the Board’s self-selected committee and liaison appointments.

While auditing for related party transactions, I reviewed the Board’s appointments to determine if any related party transactions had occurred between a Supervisor and their appointed organizations. I reported several here.

Recently, I extended my audit to determine how often during CY15 (1/1 – 12/31/2015) a Supervisor updated the Board on an appointed organization, as well as, the date of the last update to the Board. Why?  The Board says they are appointed to many organizations to ensure the County tax dollars provided to those organizations are being spent wisely.  Sounds like the intent of the Board is to be a good steward of the County’s tax dollars.

The purpose of a liaison is to represent a group of people, i.e., the Board, at a meeting and report back to the Board. In reviewing the number of updates and the last time a liaison (Supervisor) updated the Board, I wonder:  1>  Are my employees not hearing the updates and/or not recording them in the minutes; 2>  Are the liaisons not updating the Board; 3>  Are these “paper” appointments; and/or 4>  Are these appointments, time, and tax dollars in the public’s interests?

Please review the facts which were derived from official records in the Auditor’s Office, as well as, Board approved minutes of its meetings.  I would be interested in hearing your comments.  – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Related party transactions – part 2

February 23, 2016

As I indicated on 2/22, I reported several other business transactions (BT) to EideBailly LLP (EB) and Linn County’s Office of Finance & Budget (F&B). After talking with a CPA at EB, at F&B, and at the Auditor of State’s Office, I concluded that an additional twenty-two (22) BTs should have been included in the County’s 2015 Compliance Report.

I choose to err on the side of disclosing too many BTs rather than too few BTs.  Further, I do not wish to disincentivize the employees who had the courage to self-report real or perceived related-party-transactions (BTs) or conflicts of interest.

Please be advised that the disclosure of these BTs does NOT imply any wrongdoing of any kind. The purpose of these disclosures is to illustrate to the public and taxpayers that Linn County is transparent in spending its tax dollars.

In addition, you will find that I did not disclose employee and contractor names; however, those names are available upon request. I did disclose elected officials names as we have the highest fiduciary responsibility to the County.  -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor (LCA) 

Linn County Auditor’s referral case # – County employee’s organization in FY2015 – Relationship – Website- Description – Amount spent in FY2015

FY15-001     Board of Supervisor’s (BOS) IT employee – SPOUSE was executive director of Grace C Mae Advocate Center, Inc. – http://www.advocatecenter.org/ – Services – $200

FY15-002     BOS Options employee – SPOUSE was owner of TJ Support Services LLC – no website – Services – $9,664

FY15-005     BOS Facilities employee – EMPLOYEE & SPOUSE were co-owners of Blakley Properties – no website – Rented housing to County client – $875

FY15-007     Medical Examiner employees – EMPLOYEES own Weber Specialty Transport Company – no website – Services – $10,734

FY15-008     Supervisor John Harris – ELECTED OFFICIAL was board member of Area Ambulance Authority – http://www.area-ambulance.org/ – Services – $15,853

FY15-009     Supervisor Ben Rogers – ELECTED OFFICIAL was board member of The Arc of East Central Iowa – https://www.arceci.org/ – Services – $14,847

FY15-010     BOS Veteran Affairs employee – EMPLOYEE was president & board member of Valor, Inc. – no website – Services (Valor received grant funds from County for purpose of providing services) – $2,196

FY15-011     Attorney’s Office employee – SPOUSE was president & board member of CR IV Service, Inc. dba CarePro Home Medical AND president & board member of CR Pharmacy Service, Inc. dba A Avenue Pharmacy – http://www.careprohs.com/ – Services & Supplies – $1,057

FY15-013     Supervisor John Harris – ELECTED OFFICIAL’S SON-IN-LAW was employed by Foundation 2, Inc. – http://www.foundation2.org/Default.aspx – Services – $111,139

FY15-014     BOS contractor (paid $45,600 in FY15) – CONTRACTOR was board member of Prospect Meadows, Inc. (PMI) – http://www.prospectmeadows.com/ – County leased office space and farmland to PMI – $2,401

FY15-015     Supervisor John Harris – ELECTED OFFICIAL was board member of Area Substance Abuse Council, Inc. – http://asac.us/ – Services – $62,122

FY15-016     BOS LCCS employee – EMPLOYEE was board member of Community Corrections Improvement Association – no website – Services – $19,754

FY15-017     Supervisor Brent Oleson – ELECTED OFFICIAL was board member of Trees Forever, Inc. – http://www.treesforever.org/ – Services (symposium sponsorships) – $3,500

FY15-018     Sheriff’s Office employee – EMPLOYEE’S BROTHER-IN-LAW was employed by Rapids Wholesale Equipment Company – http://rapidswholesale.com/ – Supplies – $7,240

FY15-020     Supervisor Brent Oleson – ELECTED OFFICIAL was ex-officio board member of Prospect Meadows, Inc. – http://www.prospectmeadows.com/ – County leased office space and farmland to PMI – $2,401

FY15-022     BOS Purchasing employee – EMPLOYEE’S BROTHER was employed by Pat McGrath Chevyland – http://www.patmcgrathchevyland.com/ – Service & Supplies – $8,982

FY15-023     BOS Purchasing employee – EMPLOYEE’S BROTHER-IN-LAW was employed by Bromo Inc. dba The 380 Companies or Reconstruction 380 – http://reconstruction380.com/ – Services – $3,210

FY15-024     BOS Purchasing employee – EMPLOYEE’S SISTER-IN-LAW was employed by Altorfer, Inc. http://www.altorfer.com/ – Services – $19,470

FY15-025     BOS Purchasing employee – EMPLOYEE’S UNCLE owns Neal’s Water Conditioning http://nealswaterconditioning.com/ – Services – $1,725

FY15-026     Recorder’s Office employee – SPOUSE owns DF Jones Enterprises, LLC – no website – Rented housing to County client – $12,725

FY15-027     Supervisor Lu Barron – ELECTED OFFICIAL (1st half of FY15) – SPOUSE was president of Barron Motor Inc. – no website – Supplies – $1,134

FY15-029     BOS LCCS employee and Sheriff’s Office employee – EMPLOYEES own rental property – no website – Rented housing to County client – $1,700

Sources:  FY2015 Vendor Payments, employee self disclosures, tips, and LCA initiated audits.   ###

Related party transactions – part 1

February 22, 2016

On 12/11/2015, EideBailly LLP, an independent auditor hired by the Linn County Board of Supervisors, confirmed several FY2015 (7/1/2014 – 6/30/2015) business transactions (BT) referred by the Linn County Auditor (LCA).  The following tax dollar BTs occurred between officials/employees of the County and their relatives. They are included on page 17 of the County’s 2015 Compliance Report .

Several other BTs were reported by the LCA to EideBailly LLP and the County’s Office of Finance & Budget; however, they were not included in the Compliance Report. They will be disclosed on this blog in the next few days.

LCA’s referral case # – County employee name & organization in FY2015 – Relationship – Description – Amount spent in FY2015

FY15-019     JAMES HOUSER – Board of Supervisors – SPOUSE is Deputy Medical Examiner – Services – $11,071

FY15-006     JUDY CUMMINGS – Options employee – SPOUSE is owner of Aqua Technologies – Supplies – $9,428

FY15-031     GAYLE KEISER – Attorney’s Office employee – SISTER is JoAnne Morenz – Services – $5,981

FY15-003     JOHN GAHRING – Sheriff’s Office employee – PARENT is owner of Gahring Machine & Manufacturing – Supplies – $3,960

FY15-004     GAYLE KEISER – Attorney’s Office employee – DAUGHTER is Mackenzie Keiser – Services – $3,802

FY15-030     BRIAN CLANEY – Attorney’s Office employee – SPOUSE is Ann Claney – Services – $477

FY15-028     LINDA LANGSTON – Board of Supervisors – SPOUSE is David Langston – Services – $219

FY15-021     KAYLA DAVIS – Recorder’s Office employee – SPOUSE is Todd Davis – Supplies – $24

Please be advised that the disclosure of these BTs does NOT imply any wrongdoing of any kind. The purpose of these disclosures is to illustrate to the public and taxpayers that Linn County is transparent in spending its tax dollars. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor


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