Sunday, July 03, 2011

ButtePIC questions...

Updated 2011-07-10 (edited title), 2011-07-06 (some add'l info, though whether it's *all* the add'l funding is unclear; see bottom of post.)

Anyone have suggestions on how to find out what ButtePIC's other (i.e., non Workforce Investment Act) funding streams were?

In our previous installment, ButtePIC acting head (and former Herger campaign manager) John Peace told me, in essence, "wait for the outcome of the audit"; but (according to NorTEC assistant director Michael Cross) the audit is of the WIA funds, not of these other funding streams. When I've emailed John Peace asking about these other funding streams - or about when he joined the ButtePIC board, or about when & where the ButtePIC bankruptcy filing can be found - I haven't (yet) received responses.

NorTEC head Stewart Knox said Peace was the one who would know about other funding streams (saying ,"Actually NoRTEC would not know of such funds outside of WIA either, John Peace the board chair (of the PIC nonprofit) would/should know of those funds").
Former ButtePIC head Bill Finley didn't return my phone call.
People with ButtePIC funding recipients Sierra Commons and APPLE have told me they don't know.
The ButtePIC auditor did not return my email.

This all brings up questions about oversight, & about the legitimate purview thereof.

First, it seems there wasn't much concern about oversight even of the WIA expenditures - e.g. the fact that some projects "did not pencil out" seemingly wasn't worth mentioning, until ButtePIC imploded - although a Union commenter had made a trenchant critique (likely to this 2009 story), noting:
"I could find nothing about [the executive chef instructor's] experience in a Google search.
The Private Industry Council may be a non-profit corporation, but they administer public funds and refuse to say how they're spending it?
....when the Stonehouse closed, the rent was in excess of $8,000.oo a month. If they're paying that kind of rent for 6 "students"..."
And second, suppose a project that didn't pencil out was actually funded from some *non*-WIA funding source, albeit passed through an organization whose charter was to administer & allocate public funds; does the Q of how that project *was* funded lie within the purview of legitimate public interest?
(I'd say yes, if they're operating through the quasi-public-interest org, and definitely, if there's the possibility that public and private (or otherwise hidden) funding streams were comingled.)

I should also note that I spoke with former ButtePIC board member John Rush in late June, and he'd told me he didn't see any indications of mismanagement in how the ButtePIC had been run. He told me this:
(which I have not fact-checked)

Although he'd been quoted in a Chico Enterprise-Record article as saying "the results of the audit need to be made public", he'd meant the opposite of what that quote sounded like, his concern was allaying misunderstanding - he wanted people to see how aboveboard the PIC had been.

He said the ButtePIC didn't lose $ from mismanagement, but because Congress hasn't granted funds for this year - the hose was shut off. As a board member he got no feeling of misspending - other counties take 70% of the funds for overhead [July 5: factcheck in progress]; Butte didn't.

2011-07-06 update bearing on the Qs, two things:

1. The ButtePIC bankruptcy papers were filed May 9, 2011 and are available, all 172pp, from
2. Alison Lehman emailed me Tuesday saying
"I want to be clear that PIC also received Nevada County Social Services funds for specific projects. These projects included Subsidized Employment services for unemployed and CalWORKs clients, Dial 211 Information and Referral, and One Stop services including a sublease. The funding source was American Recovery and Reinvestment ActARRA and Single Allocation which is allocated for employment services for CalWORKS clients.

I am unsure what other funds they received outside of WIA and what the total budget was for Nevada County."

I've emailed her back asking if this accounting (in the general sense of the word) encompasses everything meant by The Union's Apr 1 statement (link):
"In addition, PIC spent money locally from other sources, though it
remains unclear how much and where it came from, a county official
said. ..."

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