Audit causes rift among board members

When an item came before the Board, one member had reservations about its approval.

Item ‘L’ on the agenda stated ‘discuss and/or take action on advertising to bid for forensic audit on district technology.’

Before the a motion to approve could be made, however, Board Member Gordon Hinkle voiced his concern about performing a second internal audit after already undergoing a mandated state audit.

“I’ve pondered over this for the past 24 hours,” said Hinkle. “What is the specific reason to perform an audit on this specific department?”

“When we came on to the school board, we found things that were not exactly right,” explained Board Chairman Dexter Smith. “So, we decided to start one department at a time instead of doing the whole district at once due to the money issue.”

There was some disagreement on the terminology of the item. According to Hinkle, the generic definition of a forensic audit is to investigate criminal activity.

“Do we have any reason to believe that we have some type of criminal activity going on anywhere in this department?” asked Hinkle.

“At our last meeting Mrs. Gertrude Smith (KCPS Director of Finance) let us know that we’re a million dollars in the hole,” said Board Vice Chairman Merrill Smith, “and I asked her if we met out two percent contingency, and she said ‘no.’ So, we do have to start somewhere. The audit that we have each year is more of a reconciliation type audit, it doesn’t get into matching receipts.”

The answer didn’t satisfy Hinkle.

“We just had a audit that covered all budgetary items. Now we’re going to have another audit on another department that basically does the same thing, except maybe look a little deeper. I’ll tell you what it looks like to me, and this is just my opinion, but it looks like a witch hunt. A pure and simple witch hunt.”

The comment seemed to shock the board members. After a brief silence, Chairman Smith made a motion to approve the item, and it was seconded by Vice Chairman Smith. The motion passed, with Hinkle’s being the only vote against it.