Thursday, December 21, 2006

State Board of Accounts Report More Bad News For Bolejack

While former Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) executive director Heather Bolejack personally found solace in the tone of a State Board of Accounts report covering her tenure at the agency, the findings of the report should not be comforting to her. AI has reviewed a copy of the report, which Taking Down Words has posted on its site, and found it to be quite damning. Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • The SKIP grant which Bolejack signed and awarded to her friend Michael McKenna did not appear to be approved by the Board of Trustees as required by state law and exceeded the allowable funding for such a grant under federal rules.
  • Payments to violent crime victims were so ineffectively administered there were outstanding claims dating back 5 years; at least $1.9 million in eligible claims remained unpaid even though there was $3.5 million in available funds to pay the claims (Note: this problem predated her tenure, but she did little to bring it under control).
  • Public funds were inappropriately spent on such things as $30,000 to sponsor the Circle City Classic Parade, $10,000 for the Big 10 Men's Basketball Tournament and $5,000 for a golf outing to benefit a charitable group.
  • Bolejack has been asked to reimburse the agency thousands of dollars in authorized payments for such things as inappropriate travel expenses, meal purchases and professional fees (i.e. attorney registration dues, CLE and bar memberships); Bolejack reimbursed the agency less than a $1,000 and is disputing the remaining amounts.
  • Bolejack made $430,000 in commitments to vendors either verbally or by e-mail communication without initiating the required contracting procedures prior to her termination; these commitments were all cancelled by the agency.
  • Bolejack allowed ICJI employees to work at home without prior authorization.
  • Executive staff were given blackberry communication devices and incurred substantial overage charges without reimbursing the agency for personal use.

Bolejack complemented the SBA for a "balanced presentation of the facts" with respect to the SKIP Grant in contrast to what she described as the "highly inflammatory and false statements" made by "some state officials" in a "rush to judgment." In her response, she often shifts blame to others within the agency, including her deputy, Kate Gullans, and the ICJI's fiscal staff.

Michael Cunegin, who took over the troubled agency after Bolejack's departure, says the agency has "made significant progress toward addressing many of the issues put forward" in the report. He says the agency personnel have received contract training from the Department of Administration, and it is working hard to reduce the backlog of violent crime victim claims, having paid out $1.8 million in claims over the past six months. Cunegin says the agency is also reviewing and revising all of its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and to enhance internal controls.

It is too bad there has been so little discussion about the problem with the backlog in making payments to crime victims. It seems of all the things the agency does, compensating crime victims is probably one of its most important functions. Clearly, Bolejack and her immediate predecessors let crime victims down.


Anonymous said...

I have noticed TDW has not zeroed in on Judge Lopassa's lawsuit against Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer, nor has Amos Brown mentioned it on his radio show. the Democrats do not seem to talk about the obvious corruption and violations of law in their Party.
Blame the Republicans is their game plan.

Anonymous said...

A "Democrat" can not, by definition, commit a crime against a fellow citizen as their decisions are all covered by "The Devine Right of Kings" to rule over us.
All Heil our Masters.

Anonymous said...

what can one say besides 'She was an affirmative action hire.'

Anonymous said...

Heather was an under-achieving "I wanna live rich" spoiled brat.

Heather dear, if you are reading this, you must "work hard" to live rich...not just give political favors to influential people's pet projects, unless its YOUR money.