Call the TV Stations! Call a Doctor! Call My Lawyer! Call a Lifeguard!
Here’s excerpts from the June 28th Bay News story headlined, “Minor Problems Found In Los Osos CSD Audit:”
“Although its accounting system was operating ‘adequately,’ there were significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the internal control structure of the Los Osos Community Services District’s accounting practices, according to a recently completed audit for fiscal year 2004-05.
“According to the audit by CPA firm, Crosby and Cindrich, they discovered one “reportable condition,” under standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
“Reportable conditions involve matters relating to significant deficiencies in the design or operation of an internal control structure that could adversely affect the organization’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data.
“The audit report said the reportable condition was that accounting duties were not properly segregated to different individuals in the office.” . . . [that] Whenever these accounting function duties are doubled-up or handled by one person, a ‘key person’ situation exists which could enable that person to manipulate the accounting records for his or her own behalf.
“According to Dan Bleskey, interim general manager of the CSD, the accounting work [in question] was performed by Pat McClenahan, former administrative services manager, and overseen by then G.M. Bruce Buel.
“Last November, the CSD asked the county District Attorney’s Office to investigate “improprieties” involving sewer project contracts and lack of internal controls. The D.A. declined, claiming that the statue of limitations had expired.
“Blesky said the audit shows there was no criminal activity with regards to the district’s accounting procedures.” . . .
“Bleskey said they now have a CPA, an accounts payable bookkeeper and an administrative services manager working on the books.” . . . . “Bleskey said they have put into place a number of accounting improvements and plan to implement others.” . . . . [The above mentioned] McClenahan was officially terminated in April and was at odds with Bleskey over the use of money from a State Revolving Fund loan.
“She accused Bleskey of making false statements about the district’s wastewater checking account, while Bleskey said there were 97 incidents where she exceeded her authority on making payments, claiming she failed to maintain financial controls.
“McClenahan swore in a deposition that she and her boss argued over whether it was appropriate to use SRF monies to pay litigations settlements and attorney fees.
“The audit also states that several times original data entry for cash receipts and loan disbursements were incorrectly coded to the wrong account when they were originally posted.” . . .
“Crosby and Cindrich also suggested that the CSD consider creating a manual for accounting procedures. “By developing written instructions and procedures for all accounting assignments and duties, it will insure that similar transactions will be handled consistently and the accounting procedures used are appropriate.”
In short, the audit showed “reportable conditions” that had occurred . . . . on the watch of the former General Manager Bruce Buel, former administrative services manager, Pat McClenahan, and the recalled Board.
The news that poorly set up bookkeeping procedures were NOT the fault of their bet noire, the Anti-Christ new Board caused all the members of Taxpayers Watch to give out a blood curdling shriek and fall to the floor. When they came to their senses, they immediately filed yet another lawsuit against the district for infliction of pain and skull-cracks caused by their heads hitting the linoleum, plus one more lawsuit accusing the Anti-Christ new Board of wasting money on an audit that unfortunately showed that the OLD board’s accounting procedures were not properly done.
Meanwhile, back at the June 29th CSD meeting, the usual round of Paranoia, Misunderstanding, Muddlement & Confusion was taking place concerning the Blakeslee Proposal, which survived the first round in Sacramento with an addition, the Tribune reported, which would allow the county “the option of providing sewer service and other water quality assistance to the entire town, rather than only the portion targeted by state water quality regulators. “I was absolutely ecstatic,” [Supervisor] Bianchi said of the addition. “They (Los Osos residents) all contribute to the (water quality) problem, so the entire community needs to be involved in a solution.”
That addition to the bill will be welcome news for people who understand that what needs fixing here is a water BASIN, not just some arbitrarily drawn lines on a map. But the bill is a long way from surviving the many other committees it has to get through, wherein it can be amended to improvement and refinement or amended to death. Much will depend on the community’s involvement in the process. The bill will be discussed at the July 6th CSD meeting so everyone should attend or at least pay attention and get information as to just what the bill is or isn’t, does or doesn’t say, means or doesn’t mean. As with anything Los Ososish, the Devil is in the details.
As for The Great Pool Kerfluffle, that was postponed for staff to come back with more information as to best options for interest rates and ways to secure that pool money against any lurking creditors should the very thing heartily supported by the Chief Pool Personage, Pandora, -- namely dissolution of the CSD or bankruptcy (helped along by those nice Taxpayers Watch lawsuits, among others) – come about.
Pandora, as Parks Commissioner, had managed to get from Pete Jenny at the Parks Department, what amounted to a wonderful piece of “special legislation” promising to isolate the pool fund into a separate account and exempt it from any of the county’s usual service charges. Since I was under the impression that the usual practice of the Parks Dept,( now under the gun from a Grand Jury Report as being underfunded, overworked, and lacking resources because they’re underfunded, & etc) is to “bookmark” then mingle and use funds from all over the county for any project anywhere that’s actually ready to roll rather than sequestering bits and pieces in different communities, this letter offering to sequester that money is an especially generous offer, one I trust other organizations will pay particular attention to as precedent for their local projects.
It was an interesting experience to have Medea herself in the room, sitting one row away from a CDO recipient whose life and wife’s health was severely impacted by Pandora’s email wishes to RWQCB’s Roger Briggs coming true and descending on their house, not hers.
But no chairs were thrown.
There will be more public discussions on the Blakeslee Bill and sewer project updates at the July 6 and 7 meetings at the community at 7 p.m. This community has one last chance to get involved, get accurately informed, shape the plans they want to buy, and so forth. If the community sits home thinking that Big Uncle Daddy will make all their decisions for them so they don’t have to lift a finger or get involved, well, they’re right. Big Uncle Daddy WILL make their decisions for them. Which is why we’re in this mess in the first place, remember?
And in closing, a special Howdy to “Spectator,” one of our “anonymoose” posters on this blog site. He was at the meeting last night and apparently felt "safe" enough to self-identify and introduce himself. My advice for him: Get cool socks, too. We'll start a club.