Last week officials announced the county's bond rating had been suspended by Standard & Poor's rating service for failing to finalize its 2012 state audit. Without such a rating, the market will not have any way to measure the county's ability to repay its debt if it goes to a public bond.
"We're talking about symptoms when we talk about bond ratings, when we talk about audits. Those are, I think, symptoms of the larger comprehensive problem we're seeking to address," Commissioner
With the county not seeking to take on any new debt in the immediate future, Largent said the bond rating suspension is really a wake-up call to address problems with the accounting system that led to the delay in the audit, which in turn led to the suspension.
During a workshop held last week to discuss the topic -- which just left officials more frustrated -- commissioners told Coker they would like to see a strategic plan to identify the problems and address them, and once such a plan is presented, they would be happy to offer resources to help make it happen, including bringing in outside expertise to help.
"We have not seen a comprehensive plan from the auditor as to how this system will be fixed," Commissioner
Another workshop with the commissioners was scheduled for Monday, but last Thursday Coker sent an email to commissioners stating she saw no reason to meet again with the full board on the subject because she felt she had been "blindsided" and "chastised" by board members during meetings last week.
She did say she would continue meeting with Largent, who she said she felt was "on the same page," and would continue to work toward moving the county financial processes into a better model, as well as bring in the
Attempts by the
Swannack responded to Coker's email by stating he had told her what the meetings would be about when he asked her to attend and "no systematic and comprehensive plan" to fix the problems was presented, which, in turn, led to more "difficult discussions."
"I had high hopes for you to be leading a comprehensive solution as we offered vast resources," he wrote. "Those hopes are no longer present."
While no further workshops have been scheduled on the topic, Largent said he would continue to meet with Coker individually on the topic, stating they have had productive conversations in the past.
"They will likely be ongoing discussions. When we have an idea that has merit, I think it will be advanced, as far as resource needs are concerned, through the
(c)2014 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)
Visit the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho) at www.dnews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services