This year, for what I’ve heard is the first time ever, Timberland Regional Library received an audit finding during the library district’s regular two year audit cycle. You can read the audit finding report here.
The issue the auditor’s found is pretty straight forward. We’ve (as in “we,” the board of trustee in this case) have been spending far too much money on our independent library foundation.
The ironic part of this finding is that the board of trustees realized this years ago and have been taking serious steps to stop subsidizing the foundation. I can’t stress this enough, and other trustees have worked hard on this issue well before I was appointed in spring 2010, but the auditor’s office is giving the district a finding for something we’re already working on fixing. I noted the board’s “defunding” of the foundation last year.
These highlights from district staff’s response to the auditor’s finding summarize our response to this issue starting about six years ago:
- In March, 2005, TRL’s Board of Trustees approved an amendment to the 1998 Agreement between TRL and the Foundation. The amendment included the following: A ceiling on expenditures of $250,000; A mandate that the Library Development office prepare a budget showing all anticipated transactions and services for the upcoming year; and A review of post-closing summary transactions between the two parties.
- In May, 2009, TRL’s Board of Trustees discussed the matter of the open Foundation Director position. Included in part of the discussion, “… the TRLF (Foundation) Director position (shall) remain vacant until TRLF (the Foundation) submits a plan to the TRL Board for approval which includes a plan for sustainability.”
- In September, 2010, a plan was introduced by the Foundation for a new agreement with TRL’s Board of Trustees. That plan was described at the next TRL Board meeting, “…funding the Foundation at the level requested is not justifiable…” The position of Foundation Director was not funded for 2011, and the level of funding for the Foundation was provided only at basic levels…The decision moving forward is to continue funding the Foundation at basic levels only through June, 2012; afterwards TRL will no longer provide funding for the Foundation.
Please read the entire audit report (only three pages) and the staff responses.