Reporting Accurately, Fairly, and Honestly
The recent Grand Jury Report on the Solid Waste Authority, and its personal attack on folks who strive for better financial accountability, accomplished more harm than just serving personal unethical agendas; more importantly, these unwarranted personal attacks on people exercising fiduciary responsibility in our community have discredited the Grand Jury, rendering it dysfunctional and somewhat of a joke, which is a vital goal for the corrupt to protect current and future corruptive practices. Once a grand jury is discredited and deemed dysfunctional, citizens with valid complaints tend to say “why bother?” At the same time, the corrupt see opportunity. Accomplished this year is the protection of those who have acted questionably when handling public funds, accomplished by attacking the citizens who demand accountability.
Need I remind Tod Roy, 2014-15 Grand Jury Foreman and Elizabeth Henry that only five years ago the Solid Waste Authority used an antiquated ‘pencil and paper’ accounting system, maintained by former Director Kevin Hendrick in a day of electronic accounting? Outcry from responsible local citizens caused a change, and an electronic accounting system was implemented, resulting in a functional system of regular financial audits, checks, balances and overall ‘accountability’ of public funds.
So next time, before attacking responsible people such as Roger Gitlin, Mary Wilson and Mike Sullivan, please first ask these three questions: (1) why were hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in grant money, which was applied for and obtained in Del Norte County, instead sent to Sacramento; (2) who is it that personally benefitted financially from sending several hundred thousand dollars a year to be spent to Sacramento; and, (3) was Kevin Hendrick a PAID board member of a Sacramento entity while employed as Director of the Solid Waste Authority?
Although most matters addressed by the Grand Jury Report were quite well reported, the overall report is degraded by those grand jury members who disregarded applicable laws, rules and guidelines, and by folks like Elizabeth Henry who choose to ‘drink the green koolaid’ and decline Bob Berkowitz’s offer to show the true and established facts.
The first step towards repairing the credibility of the local Grand Jury should be an apology to those responsible citizens who came under fire and scrutiny for exercising fiduciary responsibility, and admonishment of the grand jury members who attacked them.
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