Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Knox County Commissioners Take Coonrod To Task: What Are We Paying You For?

Carmel Mayor James Brainard's high-paid financial adviser Curt Coonrod has more problems than being duct-taped to a chair and robbed by a woman he was financially supporting and her boyfriend. Knox County Commissioners had some tough questions of Coonrod about a $24,000 bill he submitted to the county for services. The invoice provided little detail about the work Coonrod had performed earlier this year, and some commissioners were concerned of a lack of work product to show for his work. The Vincennes Sun- Commercial reports on the county commissioners' refusal to pay Coonrod's bill at its meeting last week until he can produce a more detailed account of the work he performed.
Most of the items on the invoice, commissioner Larry Holscher explained, were from the beginning of February to the beginning of March, with one exception from January.
“It would be safe to say that $20,000 of this was within that three or four week period,” Holscher said. “But what results came from this, where are the reports?”
The $24,000 claim was detailed with items like “miscellaneous” and “project,” and that’s just not acceptable, said Holscher.

“Who specifically asked you to do the items on this invoice,” Holscher asked. “What is this for, and who gave you the direction to move forward with that?” . . .

“We need more details. Once you can provide us with what exactly was done during this month of billing, then we’ll pay this bill,” Holscher said. “Can we agree to that, is that fair?”

“Well of course not,” Coonrod said. “I would have been happy to prepare it like that initially, but I did what I was told, and I don’t remember ever being asked to specifically provide a report.”

Commission president Rowe Sargent said several years ago Coonrod had indeed been told by the former administration to provide written financial reports, something Sargent said has never seen.

“We did specifically ask you for a detailed financial report to be sent to us,” he said. “I’ve never seen a report like that come our direction.”

Usually, Coonrod said, the contacts are so brief, and through mobile methods, like phone calls or e-mails, a report would take more time to construct — and cost the county more money than — the answer to the initial question.

“I don’t do reports,” Coonrod said. “We do very few reports, I don’t know the last time we sent a report out.”

“Are you telling me you’re not generating anything out of this $24,000,” Holscher said. “How do we justify what’s going here?”
Okay, so this guy is getting paid $125,000 a year to advise the city of Carmel. He sends a bill to Knox County for $24,000 for essentially one-month's worth of work. He has no work product to show for his work and he says that's how he's been conducting business with the county for years. For the life of me, I don't understand how this sort of thing happens. I find it hard to believe that he performed that much work for Knox County at the same time he's billing the City of Carmel at the rates he's billing them. This is how taxpayer dollars get pissed away. If this guy is submitting invoices this large without any work product and writing stuff like "miscellaneous" on the invoices, something just doesn't add up. Where's the State Board of Accounts? If he's billing counties and municipalities like this all over the state, someone at the State Board of Accounts should be asking local officials for documentation of the work he's performed.

Hat tip to the regular reader who forwarded this story.


varangianguard said...

Business as usual for a certain type of work in this state.

Mary Roger Bowser said...

I wonder how much money the stretched-thin Wayne Township taxpayers have spent on Coonrod the last 3 years.

CircleCityScribe said...

...and what does the Indiana Ghost Employment statue say about accepting money from a government entity without performing any duties?

Gary R. Welsh said...

He's a consultant, not an employee, so the ghost employment statute is inapplicable. If a consultant bills the government for work he never performed, it constitutes fraud.

CircleCityScribe said...

Thanks, Gary....I guess it is time to empanel a Grand Jury in Knox County!