State auditor stings Island County Council of Governments

The Washington State Auditor’s Office last week chided the Island County Council of Governments for failures to comply with state law.

The Council of Governments failed to submit annual financial reports with the Auditor’s Office for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, that office said this week.

“Failure to submit required annual reports is a violation of state law,” the Auditor’s Office wrote in a Feb. 8 letter to Nancy Conard and the council’s board of directors. “We recommend the governing body prepare and submit its certified annual financial reports with our office in accordance with state law.”

Conard, who retired as mayor of Coupeville earlier this year — she did not seek reelection — also served as chairwoman of the council.

Curt Gordon, a commissioner for the Port of South Whidbey, replaced Conard as chairman on Jan. 27. Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson is vice-chair.

“I was not aware of that (omission) and I will certainly look into it,” Gordon said Monday.

The council consists of officials from the cities of Langley and Oak Harbor, the Town of Coupeville, the Board of Island County Commissioners and the ports of Coupeville and South Whidbey.

The Auditor’s Office also stung North Whidbey Fire and Rescue. Also known as Island County Fire Protection District No. 2, the office said the district had complied with state laws and regulations and with its own policies and procedures. But the Audit report “noted certain matters that we communicated to District management in a letter dated Jan. 22.”

In response to that letter, the fire district tightened its procedure for taking bids on equipment and projects, said Fire Chief Mike Brown.

“We were getting some bids over the phone and not doing a good job of documenting them,” Brown said. “In one instance, we didn’t document why one company said it was too small a job to make it worthwhile.”

“We are just in the process of implementing the new policy now, recording who we contacted and what happened, and attaching that to every purchase order.”