Audit of the golf course: why it matters

The city report on the state audit suggests citizens who complained about the golf course operations were needless and a waste of money (about $50,000). Yet why wasn’t the financial director, whose very job should be focused on city revenues, expenditures and contracts, concerned about golf course operator Curt Zander for years blowing off the terms of his contract? You can’t really blame him; why should he do work if no one will call him out for being on cruise control? But this lack of reporting, as outlined in the copy-and-pasted portion of the long-term lease, hid the true revenue stream generated by one of the city’s most valuable assets.

Don’t citizens have a right to know this? Shouldn’t highly-paid officials be executing their duties and taking care of this? (Oh, that’s right, this is Ocean Shores…)

2 Comments

  1. I am curious to know how someone arrived at the referrals for an audit of the course coming in at $50k.
    Be that as it may; let’s put that number into perspective: We currently have a one-man wrecking crew at our Fire Department who has cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in various judgements, overtime and who knows what else. We have council members who for years have been asked to sign checks without being given the invoices to verify them (oh, yes, that came up in the audit as well) and did so. We are finally now rid of a Public Works leader who had no idea how to make or follow a budget and whose inability to do so caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in budget adjustments.
    But sure, let’s whine about $50,000 spent on actually looking into citizen concerns.

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  2. Peter B. Jordan says:

    Well, again, I doubt that the golf course portion of the required state audit cost 50k; more likely that is the cost of the entire audit. If not we are getting royally screwed by the state, the same state that requires us to hire them to do the audit that they require. Citizens asking the auditor to look into something is an important check and balance, we may not always like the cost but the idea of a government allowed to operate without oversight is almost certainly worse. I for one have certainly disliked the cost of some of our gov’t expenditures “studying” something few want anyway; remember all the time and money spent on sidewalk plans that the vast majority of the public indicated that they were opposed to? And the beat goes on! When one looks at the historic operation of the golf course we find that there have been some glitches; nothing really draconian but enough to justify a deeper look, if only to bring the concerns to light. I don’t recall the auditor calling out any reported concerns as being baseless. When you really look at the options citizens have if they truly believe their gov’t is not performing properly or is mis-handling money or assets, you will find there are few. Fewer yet if that same gov’t operates on the premise of refusing to be held accountable or requiring a citizen to jump through hoops to get information that really should be easily available. Would requiring a citizen to file and fund a lawsuit be a better plan; in the past that has been suggested by officials in this town! O/S employs people strictly to operate a system of making information harder to get, legal but not really conducive to trust in gov’t. The reality is that operating that information blockade costs us yearly many times what the golf course portion of the audit cost us and information obtained through freedom of information demands only goes to one person at some future date. I think that to try to blame one or several persons for making a request that something specific be addressed in an audit smells a bit like trying to assist in a cover-up. Are we so Pollyanna as to believe that our employees make no mistakes, intentional or otherwise? Do we really believe that state auditors are 100% accurate, after all they only have the database from the employees of the city to work with and they are human. This whole subject is about the cost of doing business in todays’ world of gov’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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