Bizarre Montgomery Co. Schools Audit Response

The unfortunate little paper in Mt. Sterling ran its story about Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell’s crew finally responding to the latest audit. The report, of course, that – by directly quoting state statute – says Powell illegally hired his wife.

Have a look at some excerpts:

Montgomery County Board of Education Chair Kenney Gulley released a copy today of a three-page response letter to Adam Edelen, state auditor, in relation to the hiring of Superintendent Josh Powell’s wife, Anna.

Dec. 17, Edelen’s office sent a nine-page letter to Gulley stating that auditors issued two findings in relation to the hiring of Anna Powell as director of special projects: 1) unreasonable modifications were made to the director of special projects position description to accommodate the recommendation of Anna for the position 2) district characterization of the position for which Anna was hired is not consistent with the job title and district documentation.

“Pertaining to this issue I have personally spoken with both attorneys that work for the Montgomery County Board of Education as well as an attorney with the Kentucky School Boards Association and all have given their opinion that all laws and hiring policies were followed by district employees,” Gulley told the Advocate today.

That’s interesting, since the KSBA told us that didn’t happen.

In reviewing Edelen’s report, the district’s efforts “were unfortunately mischaracterized,” the letter says.

“You stated as ‘Finding 1’ that unreasonable modifications were made to the director of special projects job description to accommodate the recommendation of the superintendent’s spouse, and cited changes in who the director would report to and who the director could supervise as evidence. Because we believe there were no unreasonable alterations to the description, we disagree.”

-SNIP-

Nevertheless, the district modified the description so that the position now reports to the assistant superintendent.”

That alteration was not necessary in order for Anna to serve as director of special projects as she was qualified regardless, the letter states.

The district honchos admit the job description was altered but fail to comprehend that Edelen’s audit made clear that Powell’s wife wasn’t qualified.

“The changes were not made to qualify Dr. Powell and disqualify others

But that’s what the auditor found.

Powell and crew go on to foam at the mouth:

KRS 43.090 governs the procedure the state auditor must follow upon completion of an audit and investigation, the district’s letter reminds the auditor’s office.

“It requires the auditor to prepare a report of his findings and recommendations, and furnish copies to the head of the agency to which it pertains, the governor, the secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, the Legislative Research Commission and the state librarian. The agency is then given the opportunity to respond to any adverse or critical findings and recommendations within 15 days, prior to a final report being issued.

“I was disappointed that you failed to follow the guidelines of the statute, and instead chose to release your report to the media immediately upon completion and before allowing our district the opportunity to respond,” the letter adds.

They’re lying through their teeth. The auditor’s office gave them ample time to respond to the special report (not a regular audit) and required an embargo with media outlets. It wasn’t released prior to giving Powell time to respond. Though, Powell DID repeatedly attempt to stonewall the investigation. That’s according to multiple audit and district staffers.

The district has not only acted ethically, but complied with Kentucky law in the hiring of Anna.

“I hope that this letter has clarified any mischaracterization of the actions we have taken. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.”

Unfortunately, they didn’t follow the law, as Edelen reported. That’s why other authorities are investigating. Period.

The corruption in Montgomery County continues.