The PUD announced earlier this week that the audit by the State Auditor did not reveal malpractice.
At the time of the Commissioner’s Report, Mike Swanson reported that he had called the administrator who allegedly rented and wrecked a Genie Boom man-lift and asked the administrator to reimburse the PUD of the accumulated fees, which totaled $1147.64. Mike Swanson recounted to the Herald: “I suggested that [the administrator] should pay the cost to pay United Rentals so that it wouldn’t appear that any ratepayer money was spent, or was appropriated.”
Swanson explained: “It seems that there’s been a number of folks at our meetings that feel something should be done about the man-lift incident. I felt that in order to keep the ratepayers from having to pay for something that they didn’t benefit from; I thought it was a good suggestion.
Menlo resident Dick Anderson talked about the meeting to the Herald: “At the Commissioner’s Report time, Mike Swanson said he had contacted [the administrator] that morning and requested him to pay, to write a check to cover the alleged amount the PUD paid for, which was $1,147.64. He said ‘I told [the administrator] to think about it.’ The chairwoman . . . began somewhat of a verbal attack on him. . . As far as she was concerned the man-lift issue was a dead issue. Hatfield issued the same sentiments.”
Thompson explained her reasoning to the Herald: “What I said is that I disagreed with him, because it is my understanding, and I was not there, I was not a commissioner at that time, but my understanding is that that piece of equipment did not work and that the person who rented it had someone who came out to work on it to get it to work. So . . . he didn’t get to use it, so why should he pay? The damage that occurred, occurred when a PUD employee was moving it so that the PUD could use it.”
Regarding the audit results, Commissioner Diana Thompson told the Herald: “It was a clean audit with no management letters or recommendations whatsoever. They addressed the issues that had been complaints from the hotline and found nothing that was worth exploring further.”
Swanson issued a similar statement: “The state auditors did investigate and they found no findings of wrong doings with regards to the money. So I think it’s over and done with at this point.”
Menlo resident Dick Anderson commented on the audit results: “There was a lot of data that was missing – after all basically they had 10 years to cover it up.”
The detailed audit report will not be published to the public until two weeks after the government entity in question, the Pacific County PUD, receives it, but the PUD has also reported that it received a clean audit. Although it has not yet been published, the assistant auditor on the case called South Bend resident Ron Craig to discuss the results.
Ron Craig recounted the phone call to the Herald: “She said that there were so many paper holes after 10 years that they just were not able to get any confirmation, that basically all they had was the information that was provided by the PUD on their account of the incident. I said, ‘Well did you see our timeline in there and all that?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, but they disputed that and we didn’t have any evidence to override their dispute.’ So she maintained that according to their story, the PUD story, the lift was delivered directly to [the administrator’s] place by United Rentals and in the process of delivering it, it was turned over. And I said, ‘Well that’s just not true. I sent you the accident report and it reports otherwise.’ And she said, ‘Well, I may have that wrong. I don’t have it right in front of me, but that was their story.’ I said, ‘How do you explain the invoices?’ She said, ‘They said that was a clerical mix up,’ and I said, ‘Then why did they pay it?’ So she obviously was kind of uncomfortable about the thing, but was very kind to call me. . . I haven’t read the report yet so I can’t come to too much of a conclusion, but it certainly looks like a whitewash to me. This is going to be very disappointing to many citizens in this community.”