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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Write to your Hennepin County Commissioner

Complain about Stanek/Ortman scam.

Here's what I sent to Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.

I thought all of the hottest, most most profitable patronage jobs offered by Hennepin County were somehow tied to the 30 year Twins Stadium Swindle, but boy, that assumption changed when I read Saturday's Star Tribune story about Sen. Julianne Ortman occupying two spaces at the public trough.

Here is my favorite paragraph from the story:

An initial set of timesheets provided to the Star Tribune by Hennepin County reflected four additional occasions when Ortman was working for the county and on legislative business at the same time. But after turning over the timesheets, Hennepin County amended Ortman's schedule for seven days and provided a new set of timesheets to the newspaper. In explaining the change, the Sheriff's Office said that Ortman had not been trained on the department's time recording software at the time, and another employee had recorded her hours incorrectly.

It begs the question - for whom do Hennepin County employees fill out timesheets? Is it to facilitate accurate and complete payroll and benefit tracking? Or is it for the benefit of the media? Which version of the timesheets was correct?

The whole thing is shameful, and I'm furious that I'm paying twice for an attorney to work as a financial manager. What will the County Board do to address what appears to be patronage, collusion, and flat-out double dipping at the taxpayer's expense?

I work as an accountant for a large non-profit. Unlike Sen. Ortman, I do have a Bachelor's degree in accounting, and have passed the CPA exam..... Part of my job responsibility is internal audit, and this whole story would not pass the smell test with my employer. I would have a difficult time assigning the correct labels, but let me try:

1. Conflict of interest (Juliane votes on public safety and LGA bills)
2. Ethical violations (Okay - lying)
3. Patronage
4. Lack of internal controls (apparently, its possible to file inaccurate timesheets at Hennepin County).


lloydletta said...

Fox 9 covered this, and I'm concerned about the "staff did my timesheet" claim by Ortman. Is that typically the way timesheets are handled in Hennepin County - or is this just a problem with the Sheriff's office.