SANTA CRUZ — In its annual report released Tuesday, the Santa Cruz County grand jury found that the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Board of Directors repeatedly failed over a five-year period to act on findings and recommendations by an auditor about the way the agency handles its finances.
The grand jury also took a look at how AB 109, or the state’s prison realignment program, has affected the county, and at how the county’s residential building permit process serves residents. Finally, the jury examined the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.
The water agency immediately expressed dismay at the report, saying the agency has already dealt with most of the issues contained in the report.
“We have had clean financial audits the entire time I’ve been here,” said PVWMA General Manager Mary Bannister.
Bannister went on to praise the agency’s board of directors, which she said weathered a financial storm that brought PVWMA to the brink of bankruptcy.
“I think the story the grand jury missed is that this agency’s had a rough road these past five years, and to suggest the directors have not been paying attention is misleading,” she said. “I can’t imagine a board of directors that have been more engaged.”
Throughout its report, the grand jury continuously referred to the auditor reports, which took place between 2007 and 2012. Among other things, the auditors showed that the agency incurred $41 million in debts, which exceeds the agency’s own rules that limit outstanding debt to $300,000.
For the complete article see the 06-27-2013 issue.
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