In April 2007, the Office of the Auditor General received an
anonymous complaint alleging potential financial misconduct by two Pinal/Gila
Long Term Care (P/GLTC) employees: Irma Potter, Director of Network Development,
and Donna Anderson, former Contracts Coordinator. During our investigation, we
determined that Ms. Potter and Ms. Anderson misused their Pinal County
employment status and intentionally violated conflict-of-interest laws. As a
result, we submitted our report to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and it has
taken criminal action against both employees, which resulted in their indictment
on felony charges. See the Conclusion on page 15 of this report.
Our investigation revealed that in December 2005, Ms. Potter
and Ms. Anderson violated conflict-of-interest laws by unlawfully accepting a
$1,500 ($750 each) cash payment for providing consulting services to a county
vendor. Both county employees improperly received a financial benefit from this
county vendor, while concurrently being in a position to influence county
decisions relating to that vendor’s contract. Even after the payment was made,
both employees continued to inappropriately participate in monitoring the
contract by negotiating, renewing, and recommending pricing increases to the
vendor’s January 2006 contract.
In addition, preceding the conflict-of-interest violation,
from July 2005 to January 2006, Ms. Anderson inappropriately and without
authority instigated two rate increases to the same county vendor’s contracted
rates. As a public official, Ms. Anderson had a responsibility to prudently
manage county assets, but because of her inappropriate actions, she mishandled
public monies by allowing overpayments to this vendor totaling nearly $34,000.
Finally, the County did not properly oversee the P/GLTC
contract administration or the subsequent investigation into these two
employees’ misconduct. Specifically, county officials failed to implement an
adequate system of internal controls over the P/GLTC program services. County
officials also failed to solicit advice from its legal counsel relating to Ms.
Potter’s and Ms. Anderson’s misconduct, adequately document its investigation
and findings, and review the P/GLTC non-emergency transportation services
contract for potential violations.
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