Police Chief/General Manager Gregory Harman refutes the findings and blames it on politics. Huh? There are many in our community who are grateful for the work of the Grand Jury. I wrote Steve Conlin, the Foreperson, to support his findings.
RE: Kensington Police Protection & Community Services District Response to Report #1311
Dear Mr. Conlin:
I have read Mr. Gregory Harman’s response to your findings and conclude the following:
· Mr. Harman confuses the fiduciary duty of an elected director of KPPCSD to ask questions regarding the expenditure of the people’s money with “political reasons,”
· And his “facts” lack factual basis and some facts are missing.
In the course of our duty as Directors of KPPCSD, Mari Metcalf and I asked questions regarding the charges on a previously unauthorized credit card billed to KPPCSD. We made no “allegations” as Mr. Harman calls our questions. During our tenure on the Board, we voted in the minority nearly all the time.
I note the following in Mr. Harman’s response to your findings:
Page 2 of Mr. Harman’s response: In the course of their investigation, the Contra Costa County District Attorney noted a lack of guidelines for employee spending and thus was unable to make any findings of criminal behavior. No measure existed against which to test the purchase of, for example, airline tickets for Yolla Harman (Mr. Harman’s wife), several thousand dollars of charges to Sam’s Club in Concord near Mr. Harman’s home, several hundred dollars of charges to local restaurants, charges in excess of $200 for a number of dinners for Mr. and Mrs. Harman, a 9 night stay in Borrego Springs for “training” for the Harman’s, etc. Lamorena & Chang’s (Steven Chang) audit did not flag any of these charges. In fact, under direct questioning Chang said he saw no “red flag” charges.
Page 3 of Mr. Harman’s response: Mr. Harman notes that the Contra Costa County District Attorney “concluded their investigation with a finding of no criminal complaint.” That is true, but they were frustrated that KPPCSD had no policies in place for employee spending to measure Mr. Harman’s spending against. In addition, approximately 30% of the receipts for expenditures were missing. In fact the investigators termed the spending and the lack of controls to be “ludicrous.” Mr. Harman was not “exonerated” as he publicly claimed; he was just not found to be criminally liable.
Page 4 of Mr. Harman’s response: He states that the “District is not required to undertake corrective action.” In fact, they have not adopted any new policies regarding employee spending and the Board of Directors rejected my motion to adopt the GSA limits as an interim set until they could determine if they wanted to modify those limits.
I suggested that they make a change of auditor to meet the Grand Jury’s recommendation to change auditors routinely every 3 years or so. The Board agreed to that.
In addition, the Hemming Morse audit noted a chaotic method of accounting and no adherence to standard accounting principles and practices. In an audiotape from 2012, long after the Hemming Morse audit was completed, Mr. Harman can be heard angrily demanding to know why an employee who was assigned bookkeeping and accounting functions is “always asking for receipts. Who are you going to show them to?” This employee reached out to the five Directors of KPPCSD for direction, but the majority of three chose to do nothing about it. The employee was ultimately forced to resign by Mr. Harman and is currently suing the District.
Mr. Harman’s response page 5: Mr. Harman’s claim that the KPPCSD finance committee is on top of things is specious because they can only process what Mr. Harman gives them in terms of data. The committee may have been unaware of the existence of a credit card used by Mr. Harman.
In the agenda packet for the upcoming meeting of Wednesday, October 16, 2013, item #2 “General Manager/ Chief of Police Greg Harman will request the Board accept the recommendation of the Finance Committee to make a $22,533 correction to the 2013114 KPPCSD Operating Budget. Board Action. Page 281.”
In his memo regarding this item, Mr.
Harman states: “ Since we began this
process, it has always bothered me that it appeared that the two Sergeants
appeared to have not been paid enough when compared to the officers and the
corporal. I thought it was caused by the incentive pay received by the officers
and Corporal and left it at that.”
“Left it at that.” That statement alone justifies the Grand Jury’s finding that there are insufficient controls on the finances of KPPCSD.
Thank you, Mr. Conlin, for the good work you do on behalf of the citizens of Contra Costa County.
Former Director of KPPCSD