Update – According to the fire district, a ‘revised’ conclusion of the complaint has been finalized, again, and will be published by the end of the year. This individual was quick to declare that, although he announced this finding at an open meeting, he thinks that the report is not a public document yet.

Should have brushed up on the Open Public Meetings Act before he started talking about it. I have a Public Records Act request in for the draft and, per the law, should get it by Christmas. Will this exonerate the district of questionable expenditures? Or just add fuel to the fire of public perception of dubious spending?

I have asked the Washington State Auditor Office (SAO) to review the expenses for the trip that Chief Al Church sent eleven people on to Colorado Springs in early September. After much wrangling, I believe that the final report should be posted on their website within a few weeks.

Two possible outcomes exist. Either the district will be found to have properly spent the money.

Or not.

As we await the results, let us review the complaint.

In October I filed a Hotline complaint with the SAO outlining travel for non-training activities that were being charged to training items in the budget.

Directly from the SKF&R 2010 Budget, the budget code line item reads:
522.20.43.541 – OUTSIDE TRAINING / TRAVEL / LODGING – For outside training, college classes and seminars

There were no training, college classes or seminars in Colorado Springs in September.

For the commissioners, Chief Church appears to have erroneously used a non-existent code of 511.20.43.541.

Upon research, and until verified, I believe the only code even close would be:
522.10.43.541 – OUTSIDE TRAINING / TRAVEL / LODGING – Training and Conferences for Administrative Staff.

Or, possibly:

522.10.51.813 – OUTSIDE TRAINING/MEETINGS – Commissioner attendance at WFCA sessions, etc.

Regardless of which was suppose to be used, there was no training, conferences or Washington Fire Commissioners Association sessions for Commissioners or Administrative staff at the union based function in Colorado in September.

My complaint asks where did $8600 of the taxpayers money go?
Eleven people were sent on an all expense paid three day trip to a union function, where no training or other official district business was conducted.

Keep in mind, the line item descriptions clearly read that Training/Travel/Lodging is clearly identified as being intended for TRAINING.

And, just for reference, any time the short description in the budget line item mentions Training/Travel/Lodging, the long description expressly clarifies this is intended for some sort of recognized TRAINING. None of which occurred in Colorado in September and certainly none requiring eleven district employees to attend.

I will have more detailed reports of this complaint, including the original complaint, copies of the budget and the email communications with the auditors on my website soon.

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