Articles by Cliff Howard

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Below is a link to the separation agreement between Martha Rose and the Island Transit  Board of Directors.

Martha Rose separation agreement

After reviewing both the separation agreement with Martha Rose and the recently released Audit report it is certain that something is drastically amiss with the Directors of Island Transit.

We have Martha Rose receiving as part of her separation agreement $88,190.40 one week before the State Auditor’s report came out with a finding that included the following:
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Below are the documents from the October 24, 2014 Island Transit audit exit conference with the Washington State Auditor.

Island County Exit Conference October 21, 2014 4 pages 2.39mb .pdf

Accountability Audit Report- Island County Public Transportation Benefit Area 12 pages 7.17mb .pdf

Financial Statements and Federal Single Audit Report- Island County Public Transportation Benefit Area 27 pages 18.6mb .pdf

In last Tuesday’s Whidbey News Times the “editorial board” (Keven Graves) came out with their recommendations for the upcoming election. In the article the paper endorses Karla Jacks over Rick Hannold and uses outright lies as the justification for making that selection.

In the article it states:

“We are concerned by Hannold’s affiliation with the so-called “Mean Girls” website, a source of vicious railing against political and public figures who don’t agree with their viewpoints. We don’t want to see a return to the sort of battles that bogged down the commissioners during Kelly Emerson’s tenure on the board.”

The basis of those words is an absolute lie and the concern expressed in the article is based upon that lie.

I want to be perfectly clear, Rick Hannold is not affiliated with Island Politics as Mr. Graves’s claims.

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At the October 21 2014 meeting of the Oak Harbor City Council the Oak Harbor representative to the Board of Directors of Island Transit Jim Campbell resigned from his position as Board member.

The Oak Harbor City Council appointed Mayor Scott Dudley to the Island Transit Board of Directors.

The City Council also appointed Joel Servatius as alternate board member to the Island Transit Board.

Oak Harbor and it’s City Council is leading by example in this replacement. Many people have called for resignation of the board members of Island Transit because of the past lax oversight by the board. Mr. Campbell did the right thing by stepping down and allowing the Oak Harbor City Council to appoint Mayor Dudley as the replacement on the board from Oak Harbor.

Hat’s off to Jim Campbell, the Oak Harbor City Council and Mayor Dudley for this action that is obviously designed to rebuild public confidence in Island Transit and it’s leadership.

I often wonder why we have such poor leadership in Island County. Now I think I understand why. Recently we saw a Republican Candidate for Board of Island County Commissioners Aubrey Vaughan endorse a Democrat for the position he was running for and lost. This brings up questions as to why? It is obvious now that we have those in this county that run under a political organizations name only because it is convenient for them and benefits them self.

For them it is not a question of beliefs or that they stand for conservative or liberal principles it is a question of how can they personally get ahead and benefit themselves using any politically convenient way to do so. It is pretty clear what happened in this case and is a real lesson for us in having candidates that are true to their causes.

When it was revealed, under direct questioning at board meeting, that Aubrey Vaughan was running to be the head of Island Transit while he was also on the selection committee tasked with choosing that candidate it is as clear as a bell that this person was only looking to benefit himself personally with his recent endorsement. The fact that he was on the selection committee for the new head of Island Transit and did not announce that he was running for the position until he was called out in a public meeting is about as deceptive as you can get. 

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Starting next week there will be a series of forums held throughout the county so come and show some support, meet the candidates, while hearing their views on issues. The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday Oct 8th, 6 PM at the Freeland Unitarian Church

Thursday Oct 9th, 6 PM at the Clinton Community Hall

Wednesday Oct 15th, 6 PM at the Stanwood Middle School

Thursday Oct 16th, 6 PM at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge

 

The document linked below is the accounting of what Island Transit purchased using the Federal FTA State Of Good Repair Grant. This document is 17 pages long and represents the funds spent from 3-22-2012 to 10-1-2014. The total Eligible SGR Expenses were $22,289,801.52 and this is reimbursed at 80%.

A few of the items that were funded by this grant are:

Wood items built from trees- $42,085.00

Lobby Ceiling Clouds- $1,498.31

Picture Frames & Cross Section- $5,000.00

Golf Carts (5)= $13,100.69

Refrigerator – qty 4- $10,902.52

View the Island Transit SGR Eligible Expenditures

From Chelle Brunke and the Common Sense Blog:

This video is of Special Island County Transit Board meeting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBHZNyHgiMQ 

AND, part 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c22wPvCEj0

It is courtesy of Bill Strowbridge.

I attended the meeting and all I wanted to do after the meeting is weep.

How did Island Transit get so far off the tracks? Watch these videos and SEE and HEAR how. Much of the blame rests on the board.

If you go to Part 1, 1:30 minutes in, Bob Clay, President of the Board, deems that the meeting will go free from public comment. Many of the audience were frustrated by this as we came with statements to read. But if you go to Part 1, 22:29 minutes into the meeting through 23:30, you will hear questions from a select supporter of the board interact with Bob Clay and ask a question, which he answered.

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The next meeting of the Citizens for a Better Island Transit will be on October 8th 2014 between 6 PM and 8 PM at the Elks lodge in Oak Harbor.

This will be a very important meeting for anyone who is concerned about the future of Island Transit.

Oak Harbor Elks Lodge
155 NE Ernst St
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
6-8 PM

 

An excellent video on why not to vote for I-594 can be found at the link below or click on the title above to view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbbKW0o8Prk

 

At the last special board meeting of Island Transit Board Member Mr. Dudley questioned whether Island Transit has the funds to hire an interim Manager for the agency. It was a bitter discussion between Board Member Dudley and the Chair Mr. Clay who was not allowing a discussion on the finances. The board wanted to delay any discussion on the finances because they had appointed a finance committee to research the finances and the board is relying on that committee to make recommendations. It appears from looking at the cash flow balance sheet that Board Member Dudley may have had solid concerns.

The cash flow balance sheet which is current through 9-17-2014 shows a negative balance of $31,717.44. The previous month showed a positive balance of $373,244.80.

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Recently the finance director of Island Transit Sandra Kuykendall wrote a letter to the editor which attacked one of the board members of Island Transit and Mayor of Oak Harbor. She also referred to the public who spoke at one of the meetings as a “vigilante mob” who was “lynching” a public servant and that the supporters of the Mayor are “dopes” and that he “intimidated” the board into firing Martha Rose. She then went on in this letter to the editor to state that what was happening to Martha Rose was “McCarthyism”. She wrote this letter to the editor and signed it in her official capacity as “Sandra Kuykendall Acting Financial Manager, Island Transit”.

If this was not bad enough she then sent an e mail to some 46 people who all appear to all be past or present employees of Island Transit. She apparently even sent this e mail to the rank and file employees of the agency. The e mail was a description of the word “McCarthyism” obviously to explain in detail the comments she made to the local paper.
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In January 2014 Island Transit missed its $438,740.00 payment to WTIP, WTIP is the Washington Transit Insurance Pool which supplies insurance for Island Transit. In February WTIP contacted Island Transit about the missed payment and at that time WTIP was informed of Island Transits financial difficulties. Island Transit management, Martha Rose and Barbara Savary, arranged with WTIP to make 3 payments on the outstanding balance of $438,740.00 that was due in January. 3  payments were made, one in March, one in May and one in July of $146,246.00 each.

In July of 2014 Martha Rose and Sandra Kuykendall (Barbara Savary had been replaced) approached WTIP to make arrangements to delay the 2015 payment due next January which totals $319,372.00. (A reduced figure from the previous year reflecting the loss of routes and employees) The delay of next year’s payment that is due in January is until October 2015. Concerned about Island Transits finances and payment the WTIP questioned Island Transit management on the tax figures that Island Transit supplied them which claimed an increase in the tax entering Island Transits coffers, Island Transit claimed the increase would be around the 8% figure but WTIP questioned this as to whether it was accurate or not. They were also questioning that if the 2015 payment was delayed until October would Island Transit be able to pay the next years insurance due some 3 months later.

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At the Island Transit Board meeting today the Board entered executive session for over an hour with the result being that Martha Rose tendered her resignation effective immediately. The vote was unanimous with all Board members voting yes to accept her resignation.

We all knew this was coming especially with the addition of Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley as an alternate board member and present at the meetings. Mr. Dudley certainly has no problem taking action on important issues and it is likely that it was his actions that encouraged the board to make this decision.

The Board will meet again next week to start the process of finding new management for Island Transit. Bob Clay the chair of the board of Island Transit will serve as interim director until replacement management can be found.

It is a new era for Island Transit.

 

The first meeting of Citizens for Better Island Transit was held last night at Whidbey Coffee. Not a lot was accomplished but there was a lot of good information presented and a lot of questions answered. Anna Marie Nunez, Island County Treasurer was at the meeting and gave an overview of how the treasurer interacts with Island Transit. She answered all questions and was very informative, open and answered all questions presented to her.

There was no one present from Island Transit with the exception of alternate board member Scott Dudley.

As the meeting was a short one it ended rather early as the room was reserved for only 1.5 hours. Most of the discussion was held after the meeting ended and those that stayed had a lot of good ideas and a lot of concerns.

One thing that did come out of the meeting was the knowledge that the Treasurers office has very little if no control over what happens internally at Island Transit. As the Island Transit funds are deposited into one account at the treasurers office there is no way that the treasurer has any control or knowledge over what funds are spent from or for what account. This is obviously something that could be changed to give another level of control over Island Transit funds. As it is now there is no way for the treasurer to tell Island Transit if they are running low on one fund or another as all funds go into the same account.

It will be interesting to see today what happens at the board meeting that started at 9:30 AM. More to come.

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