The MSB is still spending a lot of money on food and travel. Not as much as before I started doing these public records requests, but still too much.
Here are some highlights from the above statements:
The MSB Manager John Moosey had a nice lunch at the Inn Cafe Steakhouse (the MSB’s favorite restaurant, which is located right next to the MSB building) on December 5th at a cost of $35.77. The lunch was expensed by Moosey as a “meeting with RON ARVIN.” Mr. Arvin is a former Assembly member and current businessman. Is this kosher? I don’t think so. Our government officials and staff need to be fair, neutral, and transparent in all of their dealings on behalf of the public. If Mr. Moosey has a MSB project that he wants to move forward, he needs to issue an RFP (after he gets the okay from the Assembly after a public hearing). If Mr. Arvin has something he wants to discuss re: MSB business, he should use the public comment time at the Assembly meeting. 3 minutes allowed. And if they are just old friends having lunch, they need to pay for it themselves!
Why is the “Internal Auditor” (James Wilson) taking so many trips to Oklahoma on the taxpayers’ dime? Wilson used to live and work in Oklahoma. From previous public records requests, it seems that he has been travelling there often to meet with Dale Rich, the owner of NPI. So, this is all probably related to the proposed “Timber Deal.” How many meetings does the MSB’s “Internal Auditor” really need to have in Oklahoma with Mr. Rich anyways? They can’t send emails or talk on the phone? And why is a MSB official doing behind-the-scenes negotiating with a private businessman anyhow? Where is the transparency and the public process?
Also on the above statements is a $999 charge for PPI/FEPREP.com. This was purchased by Jessica Smith, the MSB’s Planning Services Manager. FEPREP.com is an online test prep service. It helps people prepare for for various engineering licensing exams. From FEPREP’s website: “Taking the NCEES FE Exam is the first step toward becoming a licensed engineer – i.e. a Professional Engineer (P.E.). After you pass the FE Exam, you are considered an “Engineer-in-Training.”
Why is the MSB paying for a test prep class for an employee? Are they also going to pay for her FE and PE exams? If we wanted a licensed engineer in that position, why didn’t we hire a licensed engineer in the first place?
The I.T. Director Eric Wyatt had a “business meeting” to discuss the Govern Update on Dec 13th at the Palmer City Alehouse and this cost the taxpayers $134.84. How many people did he treat to lunch? How many were fellow MSB staffers? Doesn’t Mr. Wyatt have an office at the Dorothy Swanda Jones MSB building? Aren’t there conferences rooms in that building too? Didn’t the public just spend millions expanding and renovating this beautiful office building?
The Community Development Director Eric Phillips paid $820.00 to JT & A for the registration fee to attend an upcoming conference on “Ecosystem Banking.” This is all about wetlands mitigation banking. Google tells me this conference is going to be held in Louisville, Kentucky in May. So, the MSB will also be paying travel expenses. I too have been interested in the topic of Wetland Mitigation Banking and there are a LOT of resources available on the web. For free.
The MSB Manager and the Attorney traveled to Akron, Ohio, in February for “Insurance Settlement meetings.” Apparently, these meetings involve the insurance company Lloyd’s of London, which insured the FERRY. Why the heck the MSB is on the hook for the multi-million dollar repairs to the ferry is baffling. We paid for maritime insurance. Why isn’t the insurance covering the damages? Also, we are paying for a law firm in Ohio to represent us, so why did the Manager and MSB Attorney need to travel all the way to Ohio? Was there some sort of (probably very expensive) mediation or arbitration going on that we aren’t being told about? This whole thing is very fishy and stinks for the taxpayers.
We paid $3,806.94 to Expedia for some type of “Staff Training” that is going to take place April 20 – 26, 2018.