The audit from the state of West Virginia about the manner in which the Wood County Schools handled the renovations at Parkersburg High School’s stadium is out…and it’s not good.
It pretty much confirms everyone’s worst fears about how out-of-control this project was allowed to get.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Missing documents: “We were unable to perform certain Agreed-upon procedures
because documentation which included (Stadium) Committee
minutes, financial information, and pertinent agreements were
not provided from the fundraising Committee associated with
the Stadium project.”
No oversight: “There was no evidence to indicate that the elected Board
approved 27 of 28 change orders required for the projects.
The total un-approved value of these changes was $896,982.”
Details changed after the fact: “Furthermore, change order(s) approved by Board members
occurred, in some cases, after the work was already completed.
Documentation examined indicated the stadium was re-opened
on September 20, 2013; however numerous change orders were
approved in October 2013 and January 2014 and these were
approved only by employees rather than the Board.”
Lack of accountability: “The Board relinquished certain aspects of control of a construction
project which increased the risk that construction costs could be
incurred without the Board’s prior approval.”
Improper bid procedures: “The Board did not properly procure competitive bids….
Evidence was not available documenting Board approval
for Bid package #2 or the corresponding contract which
Two observations: It is clear that the elected Board and the Board office shirked their responsibility to oversee this project. And then, when the bad news started coming out, the Board and others were ready to throw the Stadium Committee under the bus for having approved change orders. But it was the Board that permitted the Stadium Committee to have input into these changes in the first place.
Second, I’m not lawyer, but all of this begs the question of whether any laws were broken. I think the Wood County Prosecutor should ask for a special prosecutor to come in and determine that, and let the chips fall where they may.
I applaud the Prosecutor and the Board of Education for seeking the audit from the state. They have been given direction about how to avoid a mess like this in the future which is: FOLLOW THE RULES. Let’s hope they learn that lesson well.
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