TRANSCRIPT OF REMARKS ITEM D-6 SCHOOL BOARD OF BROWARD COUNTY
MEETING AUGUST 4, 2009
(Audit of Ashbritt/C&B was not on this agenda)
Stephanie Kraft (S.K.): Um, two questions I have preliminarily, and then I have some comments. Um, I’m mostly going on this item on the Proposed Audit Plan for next year, pages 11 through 50 on here. So, preliminarily I’m wondering of this list of the proposed audit plan, first of all who decides what is going to be audited? Who decides what’s in this plan? I know ultimately it’s your responsibility, but when you compile this list, how is that compiled?
Pat Reilly(P.R.): Well, basically it’s a combination of items that are discussed that the Audit Committee recommends, there’s items that are discussed at Board meetings, that are recommended to be done, um, sometimes they’re mentioned at a workshop. For example, we added to take a look at the legal issues related to the Workers’ Comp was brought up at a workshop. Our audit department ourselves take a look at and choose some. As Ms. Gallagher says, there’s a lot of areas that we haven’t taken a look at that we want to take a look at, but again, staffing and timing and the ability to do so much. We’ve tried to do a combination of current statuses that we want to still follow up on, but it’s a combination of requests, and again as over the years as I’ve always said, um, this document is a living document. If something needs to be changed, you know, we do periodically during the year add something in there that we do that may kind of kick something down to long range. So that’s kind of a combination of Board requests, Audit Committee requests, audit staff and just ( 1st side of tape ends)
S.K.: (2nd side begins with some words lost) and then of the Internal Audit, I’m assuming you’re the one who assigns a particular auditor to do a particular audit. Is that the way it works?
P.R.: Basically we take a look at it and see if it’s something that we feel that we can do better in-house. Um, there may be some audits that we have done, but we also want to get a different look, an outside group to take a look at it. That occurred many times with Food Service, we did a couple of Food Service audits, and then we wanted to get an outside group to take a look at it. We did that with some IT, we did that with Maintenance which is PPO now. We like to have a combination of having somebody other than us to look at things. But I pretty much plan it based on, you know, a little bit combination of if it’s a carryover, its got a little bit more, you know, wanting to get that one done rather than start something. And then again sometimes we look at stuff that we may feel that we don’t really have the expertise to do that, or we’ll bring somebody in to help us do a portion of it, um, to help us with the expertise. And sometimes we just know that because of the time constraints we just want to get someone else to do it so we can get it done. So, it’s kind of a combination of what we think we can do, what our staff is doing right now and what are the really priority items. And even as Mr. Notter would say he thinks there’s some priority items we would discuss it and (?) he would want us to do, so it just depends.
S.K.: How many auditors in your department actually do the audit?
P.R.: Well, we have 4 people that actually are just doing the property audits. We have a group of about of 6 now that does the internal audits. We’ve got a group of 4 people that do the construction type, facility type of audits, and we have, we really have 2 people on the operational, but sometimes we borrow somebody from the internal audits or there might be in conjunction with construction person who’ll do an operational audit. So totally we have 23 people including all clerical staff.
S.K.: OK, but you said 4 do property, 6 do internal, 4 do the construction/facility, 2 do operational. Are those the same, are there some overlap there?
P.R.: There’s overlap.
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S.K.: Or is that like 10, 16 people total that you have that are doing audits? I don’t mean, not your clerical.
P.R.: There’s no overlap in the property, but there’s overlap with internal funds auditors, operational auditors and the facility auditors.
S.K.: So how many actual auditors do you have as opposed to staff?
P.R.: Uh, let’s see. It’s, right now it should be 16, we’ve got, must be about 16.
S.K.: And are all 16 of your auditors CPAs, or they’re, they’re, certified auditors, like do they all have the same qualifications, expertise and background?
P.R.: No, no, we have several CPAs, we have, one of the things that we do is, people doing the audits, we have them comply with the general Governmental Auditing Standards where we want them to have CPE credits. So we continually do the CPE credits so they, the people doing the audits are up to date as best as possible in auditing procedures and auditing (?). We have, uh, we lost a CPA recently, but we have right now 4 CPAs right now on board.
S.K.: OK, now going into the actual total audit plan, you’ve got 9 items under Facility audits. Um, I love some of the ones that you have on here. I think that there are some items on here that have the Board had questioned or have come up in other, you know, maybe in workshops or in conversations that we have on different items. Um, my question on the Facility audits, is, you said you have 4 people that you routinely assign to the construction or the Facility audits. Of those 4 people, are any of those people CPAs?
P.R.: No, that’s why on a lot of those type of audits, I’m very closely involved with those, because, again, from my position, I’m very much of a hands-on supervisor with all of the audits, you know, really on a daily basis involved with them. And we have meetings weekly on scope of the work, what we found, what we looked at, and so forth, so there’s always the right, my supervision of that. There’s certain things that you still want to make sure that initially when you locate something you ought to take a look at it, and again, we may, we’ve in the past sometimes will go and get second opinions or a consultant to help us if we need them to kick back and take a look at what we located, what’s their position on it. We’ll do that too.
S.K.: Are any of the 4 CPAs that do the construction or facility audits?
P.R.: Um, no.
S.K.: The reason I’m asking is that at the last Audit Committee meeting, I attended that one and I think that might have been the second Audit Committee I ever attended since I’ve been on the Board. But there were a number of people on the Audit Committee who were either self-described CPAs or auditors that had some opinions about the quality of the audit, or maybe some of the language or some way that some things were written in the audit, and um I’m wondering if that might be different if there were, you know, people that had a different background or they were CPAs. You know, just the word unprofessional was used by at least 2 of the Audit Committee members, and I’m just wondering, you know, have you looked into, considered that perhaps maybe someone with a different background um might be writing a different type of report?
P.R.: Um, really, we, you know, we discuss those things out. I just feel that there was a couple of people there that I guess are not used to some of the language in that particular report. I think you know the point of a lot of time spent on that, that report, was to substantiate and explain what evidence was there, to provide that. You know there’s a couple of people that are not CPAs on that group are concerned, they feel the language might be stronger. But that’s part of the (?) audit that we suggested that further investigation should be looked at.
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But I think that in that audit all the information was pretty well substantiated, and I just want to make a point I stand by that audit. (The audit referred to is Ashbritt/C&B)
S.K.: Um, and I’m not arguing with what’s in the audit. You know I think that there were a lot of things that you uncovered in the audit that were extremely important for us on the Board and the district to know. I’m not questioning that, I’m just, you know, the flavor that was in there, some of the wording, some of the editorializing, if you will, but the facts that were uncovered were the facts and those were very important for us to know. So I’m not talking about that part. Um the other question I had with regard to that is that you indicated there is about 4 people in your department that specifically do the construction and facility audits. Um, to my recollection, most of the ones I’ve seen seem to have been written by one person. Do you spread it around, do you have a chance for all 4 people to do them?
P.R.: Sure, sure, and probably from the point of initial draft of the report to really going through the final product before we usually get the report out, there’s many re-writes of the report. So, um, you know, again, I think some people were, you know, and in some other audits, too, in the past, I mean for example the audit that we did with Change Order “Others” for example, in that situation we actually went at the, I think it was at the request, it might have been at the request of the Audit Committee, that we had actually performed the audit and we had an outside E&Y, Ernst & Young firm do the exact same audit, and it basically came back with the same results that we did. In fact their language might have been more, there were some items in there, in that audit, um that we kind of backed off on, but they were more specific that they felt that this was, this type of change order v. unforeseen or owner’s request, those type of things. So when we had a situation we didn’t specific, want to make a conclusion on, they were probably more aggressive, but basically they came up with the same results. That’s why again that we like to use outside firms, again, I’d welcome an outside firm to take a look at the report that was discussed, the Ashbritt report, that was discussed at the board, and you know again, the buck stops with me because you know reports issued, I’m the one that signs it, so anything that’s going in there, it doesn’t matter who’s writing it, it’s finalized with me. So, you know, I, my process is reviewing work papers, making sure that supporting documentation is there, that everybody maintains their independence. I’ve got a lot of governmental auditing standards that I have to follow that we want to keep up to give our department that independence that we need to do these kind of audits. Sometimes it’s not a popular audit, but I feel that I’m not putting out anything that’s going to be just an editorial. I know a lot of people like to say it’s editorial, and sometimes maybe our examples that we use seem a little bit too,um, simplified or proved , but it’s only to make a point of something, and I think a lot of times, you know, there’s so much emphasis on a particular word that’s used that it kind of gets away from the process of the audit.
S.K.: And just to be clear, I’m not questioning the results of any of your audits.
P.R.: I understand.
S.K.: I just wondered because several of the more recent ones it seems like the focus has been more on the drama surrounding it than on the actual report. I’m just concerned that unless there’s some changes made in your department the quality of the report basically meaning the results that were found, then the outcome tends to get lost with all the other stuff.
P.R.: We’ll take a look at that, we’ll take a look at that.
S.K.: So going on then to the operational audit, I’m interested in looking at a couple of these that have come forward that you’re suggesting. A review of the student transfer procedures/reassignments, that must have come out as a follow-up. Is that right? I can’t imagine the Audit Committee waking up one day and saying we want to audit the reassignments.
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P.R.: Actually that one clearly was the Audit Committee requested that.
S.K.: Really, they did?
P.R.: Yes. I believe, I can get the minutes of that, but I think it was a particular request by Ms. Fertig.
S.K.: OK. Um, some of the items on here, I guess it’s just not for that particular one, I think in the past some of the things that have been audited have come as a result of the request of the Audit Committee, but when you dig down it’s actually the request of one person on the Audit Committee. And I wonder if on some of these items there should, maybe could be a checks and balances, in other words I don’t know that it’s really worth the time that it takes for your department to do an audit of some of these things. Like the next one, an operational audit of the selective activities of BECON. There’ve been some people that have been wondering you know whether we’re paying too much to have a TV station and all that. For me personally I think a BECON audit might be really helpful because I think from what I’ve seen there’s a lot of questions about what do they do, how do they manage themselves? But honestly, I, and it might be my appointee was the one who requested this, I’m not really thinking that a review of the student transfer procedures is really that cost effective, especially right now where we have more vacancies and there are more opportunities for students to transfer or to reassign. So I guess what I’m saying is, um, you’re giving us this report, you know, we’re reviewing it, but is there room for us to take a look at some of these and say I don’t know if this is necessary?
P.R.: That’s why we present it as a proposal plan and that’s why I mention that it’s kind of a you know living document and can be changed and then again if there’s, again I’ll given an example, for example, the BECON, I guess that really falls under the category of we’ve never looked at that in a while.
S.K.: I have no problem with that one.
P.R.: That’s why that one’s there.
S.K.: But in, in number 4, perform current status reports of prior operational audits, that is so necessary, I almost think like that should be number 1. You weren’t ranking these, but, you know. I can’t tell you how many times that we’ve had an audit report come, there’s been a lot of fuss out there about an audit report or maybe there’s been some comments by the Board either at a Board meeting or a workshop and then you never hear from it again. There’s so many of them out there I have no idea whether anything’s actually gotten changed or not, case in point, D-5. You know what I’m sayin’, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about inventory and property control and here we are back again still doing the same thing. You know, so I personally think this one is really critical, um, you know, I don’t know if the reassignment is necessary, I hesitate to take something off if it was at the direction of the Audit Committee. But if it was simply one person on the Audit Committee and the rest of the Audit Committee kind of nodded their heads and said yes sure, that’s fine, you know, maybe if you’re prioritizing, that would might not be at the top of the priorities. For me, anyway.
P.R.: We value your input on this, that’s why we bring it to you.
S.K.: OK, I guess I’m curious as to what was the rationale, and you know before I sign off on this, I’d like to know, was there a specific issue that was brought up, you know, or what have you? I don’t want to belabor that one, to me that’s not one of my priorities, but perhaps if I understood more of the rationale behind it, which I don’t need right this second. Um, the um, review of the legal expenses related to the Workers’ Comp Program, to that I would add, adding is probably not the right word, it’s probably a whole other one. I know one of the things that I’ve asked for at several other workshops and Board meetings is if we could look at these expense related to the third party administrator and the liability portion cause our Legal Department doesn’t really do the liability legal work. I mean, not only do we farm it out, but we’ve got a third party administrator in a whole
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Different department, Risk Management, that’s responsible for that. I don’t believe to my recollection that we’ve ever really looked at that. For me, the Workers’ Comp is not even as important as the other ones, because we did a whole audit of the Workers’ Comp, and even if you wanted to put the Workers’ Comp part on it like a follow-up of the current status report of the prior ones. I believe Workers’ Comp is coming to us in a workshop next week, I think it’s on the agenda for August
S.K.: Yeah, but I mean one of the things that I know that I’ve really been focused on is what’s going on with what we paid. I know a lot of it comes out of our insurance, you know, so we don’t really pay out of pocket, but I don’t know that we’ve ever really seen that, and people understand that people sue the school district all the time, but I don’t think any of the Board members here are really aware of to what extent, how much do we spend on defending our claims, do we actually spend it out of pocket because it kind of comes out of our funds, you know, so I would really either add that to it or substitute for it, or do you want to take off the reassignments and put in that one if you have to do it way, but for me that’s a real high priority one. Um., we did, there was an operational audit of the legal services department a few years ago in 2006 I believe, and we did, um, get information, on, um, there was the whole audit portion of that audit focused on cadre counsel. Um, that also would fall under the current status reports of prior audit because um there were a few things from that audit that were to be done that nothing really came back to the Board because that’s not our typical procedure. So you know updating cadre counsel status to me would be helpful, and like I said whether it’s done just as an update I don’t know that it needs to be done as a separate one. Um, perform a review of reimbursement for personal use of district issued cell phones, um, that’s been a real issue I think in the press or nationwide, in the state. The state had us specifically vote on the cell phone costs and travel because of the perception that school boards across the state I guess were spending all this money on it. Um, my understanding is that our contract with our cell phone provider who is AT&T um is a certain, the contract is a certain amount, and every school board cell phone account if you will has a flat rate. When I look at my bill every month I go over my bill and I find things it says that I’ve circled my personal expenses and stuff. But every item on my cell phone bill that’s itemized and every incoming and outgoing call is itemized has a zero next to it. And I know I questioned that as an employee how do I know what I’m even reimbursing, because according to the bill it costs zero. And the answer is well it costs zero because we have a flat rate but somebody somewhere figured out how much every phone call costs. So I think in doing a review of the reimbursement, you know part of that I think is going to be looking at what the contract is and what it really costs the district and if the district’s paying extra, you know if an employee makes a personal phone call or doesn’t is that really coming out of the district’s pocket? I don’t know the answer to that I think it would be helpful to know that.
P.R.: One of the reasons that’s on there is because we have that written into the policy that we need to look at that, that’s the reason why that’s on there. There is, there is a new contract now, so there is some change. I mean for a while it was 6 cents a minute, and that’s what was decided was that if it was a personal call that’s the amount that would be reimbursed. You know, it’s a totally different ballgame now, so we’ll have to take a look at what the rules are and what the contract says.
S.K. Um, then finally, I know this is taking a lot of time on this, but staffing issues on page 15. You indicate that you’ve got 23 employees, but you just told us before you have 16, so 16 of those 23 are the actual auditors? Um, I don’t know whether those are all internal auditors or you’re including inventory audits.
P.R.: That’s everybody.
S.K. But the thing that bothers me is the 3 open positions unable to fill due to the hiring freeze. Um, I respect the hiring freeze, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m asking one department to get priority over another department with regard to the hiring freeze, but Mr. Notter, I’m concerned that the Audit Department and the
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auditors can actually save us money in the long run if they do an audit and find where we have to get money back. The audit of the Ashbritt is a prime example if it turns out that we are going to recover even some of the $765,000 or whatever that number was, that certainly could fund the extra auditor. So I guess I’m respectfully asking if you could take a look at the effect of having a hiring freeze in a department that actually works to find ways to recoup money.
Sup’t. Notter: I’ll review it.
S.K. Thank you.
Robin Bartleman (RB): Um, I agree with Ms. Kraft. I would like to see, you have the student transfer procedures, fine, but I think we need to use our time on things that cost the district money, and that’s a policy that is not something, I’m more concerned about how efficient are we with our dollars at this point, and you don’t have a lot of auditors, so my concern is always and Stephanie brought it up is reviewing the old audit reports and I think Maureen remember like Stephanie said you should be (?) those up and going back and making sure everything is implemented and that should be the focus. You have identified so many ways to save this district money, and if we’re not implementing them then (?). So I think that needs to be a real goal. I remember we spoke about the Food Service audit. We were going to see if any food distributor would save us money. I had a lengthy conversation with them. So I want us to focus on the items that save us money, etc. And then I had a concern about the charter school… (discussion ensued on how companies run them and accountability).
Robert Parks (RP): Just 2 things. One I was looking at the audit of the Physical Plant Operations, but on reviewing it I saw it was in reference to the Grau RFP. But ah one of the things too as the administrative response comes what I’d like is what specifically have they done, like for instance in one of the responses they’re going to put a GPS included, and the others were kind of nebulous, you know, “We’ll try to work harder” type thing. But I think on the operations side I think that’s it. The other thing, just, Pat, quite candidly, ah, when an auditor puts their personal feelings, their personal sentiments into an audit, that does take away from the, the importance of that audit, and you and I talked about the Ashbright (sic) audit, uh and I agree with Ms. Kraft sometimes if you know the personality of the auditors and their relationship, the question ought to be “Can you keep your personal feelings separate from doing your job?” And that’s really, I think a lot of this stuff nobody said on that particular audit that Mike has been, there might be uh an overpayment or what have you. But people get to focus on the wordage the verbiage that was used in that audit and I think that distracted from the credibility and the value of that report, so I just, I’ve shared my feeling with you prior to (?) what I thought was being said in the community, the community being individuals that work within the school district. So uh I just when you look at individuals and I think Ms. Kraft was right, if we find $700,000, let’s hire more CPAs, you know, that we can do some of these audits. My brother’s a CPA, he audits just about everything in the Florida Keys, seems like his firm.
Beverly Gallagher (B.G.): We’re not going to hire him.
R.P. No, don’t, I don’t like him anyway, but what I’m saying is to be in your position in which you review these audits I would expect you know that as you just said to delete some of the verbiage that is unnecessary . I think there are, there are terms that can be used that aren’t as necessarily as inflammatory as was used that could get to the point. Maybe if that particular person would go back to school and take a creative writing course maybe that might help a little bit. But I just think the focus that came on the personalities as opposed to what the result of that was, or what the solution was going to be, so that’s the only thing that I have a difficult time dealing with. I like to keep the profession, the accounting profession, as a profession rather than get into personal feelings. So that’s all.
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Maureen Dinnen (M.D.): ……Another thing, too, I kind of share Ms. Kraft’s concern. It would seem to me that the Facilities Dept. has a huge, huge budget, that capital outlay budget, and although it does cover technology and it does cover buses, we kind of think of it as our construction/replacement school budget, and I think it would give us more of a level of confidence if, although I know that you’re a person who’s responsible and you look through these things very carefully, still I think having a CPA in that group would be really, it would, I, I would feel more comfortable with that. It’s your decision, you’re the professional, but I’m just expressing that I would feel more comfortable with a CPA if they were assigned to that area.
P.R.: Well, I think, too, that I don’t want to discredit the area of internal auditors and forensic type auditors. You know CPA I think is a good credential that you have, but that’s kind of a little bit different field than internal auditing. I don’t want to get into a whole thing on it, but maybe we can discuss it later, but it’s a little different than public accounting and internal auditing and construction auditing
M.D.: I would be glad to discuss that with you then.
P.R.: It’s, it’s kind of a, you know I think the more credentials that we have the better, but I’ve worked with a lot of different groups that even in public accounting and people that didn’t have the CPA that were very, very good. They were very good tax preparers, very good in the management studies, so different aspects of an accounting firm, but it’s, we have what the set of rules and regulations under governmental auditing standards, that I think they’re almost basically the same as the requirements that a CPA has to follow, and we really try to adhere to those items. And you know, again, I’ve sat in the feedback of the reports maybe the language is not, it sounds like maybe too editorializing, but you know that’s an area we will definitely work on. I still feel the audits are supported by you know supported by documentation, for example, the $765,000 that we recommended reimbursement is still some areas in there that we felt maybe shouldn’t have happened that we can get the reimbursement from, but that’s again read the 5 recommendations for improving the internal control procedures more than anything.
M.D.: And I understand that our audits are to, they’re not “gotchas” they are to improve the services that we render and to also help our employees to improve their performance as well, so I understand that and I know that’s the attitude that you have for all of our audits. I think that what people are concerned about up here is I’m hearing (tape changed, some words missing) integrity in your work in that particular audit as others, so I think that’s something we just have to be concerned about. Another thing I’m concerned about, and this may come from the Audit Committee, not necessarily from your department, and that is when I read something in the press before I hear about it, that bothers me a lot. And so, not that I want to curtail anybody’s right to express themselves, you know I taught American Government, I wouldn’t want to do that, but when I hear about something first, it’s kind of like hearing about your own family from the neighborhood before you hear it yourself. So it’s a big concern to me, and I guess I’m on a roll now, but the other thing I was concerned about is that I don’t really want to see an audit that has draft on it again, because to me, and I’m a layman, when I see the word “draft” it means it can be changed, and I think that your work does not want to get changed.
P.R.: Right. It was, for the last 11 years we always have the same process. This was kind of an unusual situation, it was unfortunate that the report was leaked, and I believe that report was leaked way before the Audit Committee members had received that report. But we have pretty much cycled, we have the report, we want exit, we want to kick the report back and forth, we want to get the recommendations, we want it completed, we want it issued to everybody the week before the Audit Committee meeting, and then the Audit Committee addresses it. They also have the opportunity to just not accept the responses, not accept the comments, and then we hope that, you know, the real final, final, you know everything finalized that goes to gets transmitted to the Board. And that’s how we’ve been trying to do it.
M.D. And that’s the healthy way to do things. And I think we all agree that that we all (?) as well. I agree.
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Discussion on charter schools and auditing responsibilities ensued.
R.B. Um, my next question is um, and I’m just going to put this on the table. Do you think there are personality issues with some of the auditors and the departments, as the person who’s in charge of the um Audit Department? Personality issues, like do you think things are getting personal between different groups? The auditors, and, or do you think it’s strictly professional? And I’m going to ask you to give us your best opinion as the supervisor of that department.
P.R.: I think I try to implement independence and relying on substantial supporting documentation to make any statement. I think sometimes when there’s a negative audit there’s a tendency to say um that there’s a personality issue. There is no personality, in accounting and auditing you can’t get into that situation. I feel that as I know the newspaper said
R.B. Not this audit, but other audits, this has been ongoing for years now with the 2 departments, and not just that one, but, I just want to, if you’re a CPA, you’re our, we’ve hired you, and you feel comfortable, fine, but I just want to make sure because that is something that’s out there on the table, whether or not this has become personal. Someone from your office you just said leaked the report.
P.R. Not from our office, I never said that.
R.B. Well, I don’t understand how a report could get leaked if you’re the auditor and it comes out of your office.
P.R. I can tell you how that can happen. Because the minute we issue the report there are several people that have that report, I’ve gone through everybody in my office, but there is a possibility that that’s possible. When that report was issued on June 9 it was out there for several people to leak and I don’t know who did it. As far as I’m concerned I talked to the people on my staff. They told me absolutely, and I think it was more of a negative thing to us if we leaked the report because it breaks our process down. We routinely have an exit conference, review the responses, you know there may be a change to the report, there may be something that needs to be added, there could be someone’s name incorrectly spelled in the report that we don’t want to go out. So to us there is no possibility that we would want to do that because, and as you can see, I think the negative connotation that occurred from that occurrence happening probably hurt our department more than anybody. So it’s not, I think this thing about personality thing is something that’s kind of a diversion instead of wanting to deal with the audit report and I really, it can be created to be that, but I’m doing everything I can to prevent that, and again, I just said that how that report got out, the report might even have been leaked after the Audit Committee received those. Then looking back, the only reason we did that was Policy 1002.1 was that the Audit Committee can ask for whatever they want and was probably if I could look back I probably felt it would not have been a good thing to let them do, but the Audit Committee members asked if they could look at it ahead of time knowing that the responses weren’t there, and professionally hoping that they would not leak that. And again I don’t even know, I don’t believe that they leaked it either, but
R.B. So could you have let the meeting like wait until we get the responses and (?) at that meeting and let’s wait until we have it completed?
P.R. The only thing that I was concerned about at that point at the moment at that meeting was when the Audit Committee Chair requested to do that I was relying on past experience with what 1002.1 says about providing what the Audit Committee members would like at any point and the fact that it may had already been a public document when we issued it to the departments that had it (?). So, again, nobody asked for the report outside of
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the district, it obviously was leaked to somebody unfortunately, and you know I hope that does not happen again. It could’ve also been leaked at the point when we delivered the audit package to the Board members and everybody the week before the Audit Committee meeting I guess before they had a chance to vet the report. There’s other places that can happen because as I say even the Audit Committee could change the report, so that’s kind of the concern. But you know I think there are some procedures that we can put in but again if the report is leaked, and again that’s the only one I know that had been leaked and I know a couple years ago we had an Audit Committee where there was a draft presented and still today the outside auditors often bring their financial report in draft in case there’s any other changes. So the point at the word draft is sometimes that there may be expecting some changes, for example this year with the financial report, the CAFR, we were still waiting on the legal letter before it could become a true final. So they presented it to the Audit Committee as a draft, but technically it was out there a week before, it has “draft” on it, but I prefer not to have it that way but that’s what happened.
R.B. Because as a Board member I very much respect everything you do. As you know when I first got elected I actually changed your position, your line to report to the Board and the Sup’t. and you understand why I did that because I said how can you report to the person who signs your paycheck and you audit them independently and that’s why I wanted the double line to us because I value everything the auditors do and I want you to find everything we do wrong, and anywhere we can be more efficient and save money, I want to hear that. If we’re wasting money, I want to hear that. A report, I want to hear what the truth is, I want to hear if they owe us money I want the money back, so I’m not even talking so much about that report, but I feel like for a long time, um, there’s been a thing with audit and construction, even we’ve had you up here going head to head for like 2 years. That’s why I wanted to get that on the table because I need to feel comfortable that you’re third party or independent and you’re just going to do what’s right by the taxpayers and by me as a School Board member. I want to know if we’re wasting money I want to know where we can be more efficient, I want the money reimbursed to us from that company, I want all of that. I think that I just had to put it out there because that’s what’s out there, and I don’t want the district to be, I don’t want this to become like a war or it to become a personality war or for other departments to say, like it should be like we’re going to find what’s wrong and correct it. Not like “I got you and I’m going to embarrass you as much as I can” and just find what we’re doing wrong, tell us what we’re doing wrong, tell us how to fix it. And I think it needs to be like a, almost like a continuous improvement model, and this last one didn’t feel like continuous improvement at all. It was kinda crazy, everything that happened in the order, so I guess I’m going to look to you, and you’re saying there are no personality issues and I have to believe you, you’re an auditor so, um I’m fine and I trust you, Pat, so I just want to make sure it doesn’t become, it needs to be where you don’t lose your credibility out there as well, it needs to just be the facts, you know, the facts, and I just want
P.R. That’s how I try to represent myself. You know you’ll never see me make statements to anyone personal or to the press or on opinions on other people’s thoughts of our department or individual situation because that’s not part of the audit process as far as I’m concerned.
R.B. I think that was good to have that out on the table for everyone, for the employees to hear. I think we need to have that put out there because I know there’s a lot of stuff going on that people are thinking, so thank you very much.
There were no other comments from the Board or audience, so the item was passed.