Posts Tagged ‘Board of Supervisors’

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

Have reporters become PR agents for the Board?

October 22, 2012

I realize it’s popular these days to bash sitting county auditors, but reporter Gregg Hennigan’s story – see http://thegazette.com/2012/10/18/johnson-county-auditor-overspent-equipment-budget-by-58000/ – on Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett portrays a violation of a Board of Supervisors policy, procedure, or protocol as being against the law when no law was broken.

Once a Board approves an elected official’s budget, the Board has NO statutory authority to exercise any additional control over the official’s budget UNLESS the elected official consents to the Board’s authority.  And further, after approving a line item budget, the Board CANNOT refuse a claim submitted by an elected official even if the claim exceeds the budget of the line item.  And finally, the elected official does NOT have to disclose which line item he took the funds from in order to pay the claim.

The preceding paragraph can be confirmed by reading Opinion #86-6-3(L), which can be found in the Opinions of the Office of the Iowa Attorney General – see http://government.westlaw.com/iaag/

Here’s an excerpt from that opinion.  My emphasis is indicated in bold:

This office has reviewed the authority of the board of supervisors over the county budget process on numerous occasions. See Op.Att’yGen. # 85-6-3; 1982 Op.Att’yGen. 389; 1982 Op.Att’yGen. 389; 1980 Op.Att’yGen. 664; 1968 Op.Att’yGen. 614. A review of these opinions reveals several relevant principles which can be summarized as follows:

 

1. The county board of supervisors is vested with considerable authority over the county budget process. However, once the budgets submitted by other county officers are reviewed and approved by the supervisors, there is no statutory authority for the supervisors to exercise any additional control over the budgets of elected county officials. The supervisors have the right to ensure that claims submitted by elected county officials are within that official’s approved budget, but they have no right to refuse claims that are within the budget and for a legitimate purpose. 1980 Op.Att’yGen. 664.

 

2. After approving a line item budget, the supervisors cannot refuse a claim submitted by an elected county officer on the ground that the claim exceeds the amount appropriated for the particular line category which that claim falls within. [FN1] Op.Att’yGen. # 85-6-3.

 

3. While the supervisors control the total amount of money appropriated to an elected county office, there is no express statutory authority which would allow the supervisors to exercise further control over particular expenditures from the budgets of elected county officers. Op.Att’yGen. # 85-6-3.

 

4. Authority over personnel matters relating to deputies and assistants resides with the elected principals unless a statute expressly gives authority to the board of supervisors. McMurray v. Board of Supervisors of Lee County, 261 N.W.2d 688, 691 (Iowa 1978).

 

5. Although the supervisors may exercise a significant degree of control over elected county officers’ budgets prior to the budget’s final adoption, once the budget is final, the supervisors’ authority is significantly curtailed. Op.Att’yGen. # 85-6-3.

Mr. Hennigan and his peers need to start doing their homework when writing about which Board policies apply to elected officials and which ones apply to the departments reporting directly to the Board.  There’s a huge difference and the media needs to make the differentiation if they are going to write the stories.

Quit publicly humiliating elected officials who don’t follow Board policies that never applied to those elected officials in the first place.

If county auditors, attorneys, sheriffs, recorders, and treasurers reported to Boards of Supervisors, then none of those positions would be on the ballot.

And reporters should stop writing stories as if they are public relations agents  for the Board of Supervisors.  How about reviewing the applicable laws and legal opinions before writing a story?

Or maybe just ask the question:  Were any laws violated?  Is that too much to ask?  ###


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