Monday, 01 October 2007 04:37

Corruption continues at NDOW - Presented to the Wildlife Commission February 10, 2007

Written by Cecil Fredi
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In the 2005 legislative session, HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association sponsored a bill to audit a very small part of Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). The bill passed with the help of Assemblyman Jerry Claborn. Jerry realized how badly NDOW was being mismanaged for many years. Getting the bill passed was not easy as NDOW had their favorite puppet, Larry Johnson there testifying against the bill. Larry’s feeble excuse was that NDOW couldn’t afford the audit. As usual, Larry didn’t know what he was talking about as there was no additional cost to perform this audit. Larry failed to realize that if you don’t stand up for what is right, you are wrong.

This audit will prove that former NDOW director Terry Crawforth ran the agency in a very corrupt manner. The opening page of the audit stated that the purpose of legislative audits is to improve state government. This is exactly what HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association have been wanting for a long time, but not Larry Johnson and the Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife. Now let’s review the auditor’s findings along with HUNTER’S ALERT comments.

Page 1: Audit states that the Wildlife Commission is responsible for reviewing NDOW’s budgets.

HA: The Wildlife commissioners failed to do their job costing the sportsmen millions of dollars. Every commissioner but Dan Swanson should immediately resign. Mr. Swanson was not a commissioner when this corruption was taking place.

Page 1: Although revenues have increased, license unit sales have been decreasing. In addition to declining license sales, Department records indicate more hunters are competing for fewer game tags.

HA: This proves what we have been saying for years. Because of NDOW sportsmen have lost the majority of our deer herds and the millions in revenues that go with it. The Wildlife Commission doesn’t have a clue as to what it will take to bring back our once famous deer herds. The commissioners’ answer to this loss of revenue is to continually try to  raise fees.

Page 2: The audit focused on revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2000 through fiscal year 2005.

HA: How much worse would the end result have been if the auditors had done a complete audit of NDOW bureau by bureau?

Page 2: One objective of the audit was the adequacy of controls over restricted revenues and certain expenditures.

HA: This is extremely important as NDOW, by law, cannot use restricted funds for anything they desire. But they did on numerous occasions and that is what the audit stated.

Page 2: We estimate that NDOW could have collected approximately 1.6 million dollars in additional federal receipts during fiscal years 2004 and 2005.

HA: How’s that for openers and we’re only on the second page!

Page 2: This loss of revenue can be attributed to an inefficient and incomplete grant monitoring system.  

HA: This is a polite way of saying the agency was mismanaged, something we have been saying for 18 years.

Page 2: Since fiscal year 2000, expenditures totaling approximately $800,000 have been inappropriately funded with restricted revenues.   

HA: See how nice the auditors are using the word inappropriately. They could have just as well used the word illegal as that is exactly what it is.

Page 3: Indirect costs were not included in fiscal year 2004. Grant budgets and costs totaling more than 1.2 million dollars were not reimbursed. Not all grants were amended to include indirect costs. Therefore indirect costs totaling more than $210,000 were not reimbursed.

HA: On that one page alone, there is $1,410,000 that NDOW lost because of their mismanagement and the failure of the Wildlife commissioners to do their job.

Page 5: In addition to not recovering indirect costs, NDOW’s inadequate grant monitoring system has resulted in grant costs exceeding budgets. As a result, grant expenditures totaling more than $441,000 were not reimbursed during fiscal years 2004-2005.

HA: How many different ways can you say “mismanagement”?

Page 5: NDOW maintains separate accounting records for various revenues that must be recorded in the Wildlife Obligated Reserve Account. Although the use of these funds is restricted for specific projects, they have been inappropriately used to fund more than $536,000 of water development program expenditures since fiscal year 2000.

HA: Once again, illegal acts. On numerous occasions, NDOW broke the law under Terry Crawforth’s direction with the Wildlife commissioners’ approval because they didn’t do anything about it. By the way, are you going to seek prosecution for Terry Crawforth’s illegal acts? I rather doubt it because it’s easier for you to just cover it up. Oh, but if someone violates a fish and game law, let’s hang him high! You must approve of a double set of standards of justice.

Page 6: Funds from other restricted programs have been used to cover the defect.

HA: NDOW was using obligated or restricted funds like a slush fund which again is illegal. It was Crawforth’s style of robbing Peter to pay Paul type of accounting. No wonder he retired. Had the Wildlife Commission done its job, he wouldn’t have had the chance to retire but would have resigned in shame.

Page 16: We estimate NDOW could have collected approximately $1.6 million in additional federal receipts during fiscal years 2004-2005. The Department lost more than $1.4 million in federal reimbursements from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005.

HA: According to the audit, NDOW lost $3 million on this page alone. Now the commissioners have the gall to ask for consumer price index to increase fees, higher license and tag fees and more money from the General Fund and you expect the sportsmen to pay for your failures. You are indeed a sorry bunch.

Page 20: In fiscal year 2005, payroll was 61% of operating costs but was not budgeted. As a result, budget control for payroll costs is not available.

HA: Can you believe this?  The biggest expenditure in NDOW and they have no budget for this! This is truly an agency in complete disarray.

Page 23: The effectiveness of NDOW’s grant monitoring system was impacted by the absence of the chief fiscal officer, lack of procedures and insufficient communication between program and fiscal staff. From January 1, 2002 through September 1, 2005 the chief financial officer was on leave over 60% of the time, which was mostly military leave.

HA: HUNTER’S ALERT will tell you what the auditors didn’t say as this was one of Terry Crawfoth’s worst pieces of corruption. A payroll audit in fiscal years 2001-2002 revealed an NDOW employee worked 1100 hours in one year of overtime. The commissioners knew about this and as they have done so many times before, they put their heads in the sand. The facts of this blatant example of mismanagement are:  Steve Bremer was the chief financial officer for NDOW. He was called into full time National Guard duty. Terry Crawforth kept him on the payroll stating that he was working at home. Mr. Bremer accumulated 1100 hours of overtime in one year.

 Let’s put this into perspective. Mr. Bremer works eight hours in the National Guard. In order to receive overtime from NDOW, he must put in an additional eight hours. We are now up to sixteen hours a day without overtime. In order to receive 1100 hours of overtime in one year, he must work four plus hours in overtime. We now have an employee who is working twenty plus hours a day for a full year. Does anybody believe this is possible? Well, it wasn’t possible and didn’t happen. As usual, the Wildlife Commission failed to do anything about it.

This was not a mistake on Terry Crawforth’s part. It was not a clerical error or oversight. This was a planned act on Mr. Crawforth’s part and it cost the sportsmen millions of dollars. You can’t have it both ways. Terry Crawforth saying the chief fiscal officer was working at home and the audit saying that there was basically no chief financial officer. The truth is that Terry kept him on the payroll and there was no work being done for NDOW. The audit proves that. The Wildlife Commission chose to believe in Terry Crawforth.. That doesn’t say much for their knowledge or judgment of character.

When commissioners are appointed, they immediately adopt the mentality, that being “don’t tell me anything because I know everything about everything”. The Commission failed to listen about the damage predators are doing. They failed to listen about Terry’s mismanagement in NDOW. Had the Commission listened to HUNTER’S ALERT years ago, they would not have to take the blame for the results of this audit.

You are not the only ones who should bear the blame for this inexcusable audit full of corruption. Yes, Terry Crawforth was the leader of the pack. It was because of his dirty deeds that we are here today but how about Governor Kenny Guinn? On numerous occasions while running for the office, he stated he was going to straighten out NDOW. So much for Kenny Guinn’s failed promise to straighten out NDOW. Remember all the glowing accolades he bestowed upon Terry Crawforth when he retired? It doesn’t say much for Kenny Guinn supporting a department head that mismanaged a state agency for 8 years.

In addition to Kenny Guinn, let’s add former commissioners Bill Bradley, Tommy Ford and John Moran to the list. By never questioning Terry Crawforth’s corrupt way of running NDOW, they must have approved of it. They certainly did nothing to prevent this. The Commission should hang its head in shame for what you did or in this case, what you didn’t do. But you won’t. You have no conscience and could care less. You will always believe that you are the only people who know anything about wildlife issues.

In many of our newsletters, we told you how sleazy Terry Crawforth was and as usual, you failed to listen. Where do you think we got our information? It was from NDOW employees, something that you were too good to do. The Commission chose to believe everything Terry Crawforth told them. So much for your governing ability. After this meeting, you will be at the cocktail party, slapping each other on the back, praising each other for doing a good job. A good job to you means not listening to the people who truly care about the direction of NDOW.

In summary, sportsmen have lost 8 years of changing the direction of a mismanaged state agency. This happened because Kenny Guinn, Tommy Ford, John Moran, Bill Bradley and this Commission supported a corrupt department head. The audit proves that. There needs to be some resignations from the Wildlife commissioners. They didn’t listen to the sportsmen nor did they do the job they were appointed to do. If reviewing the budget requires too much time, then resign and let someone who has the time take your place. The bottom line is this, your dismal failure has cost the sportsmen of Nevada millions of dollars. I’m sure you’re very proud of this.

I am requesting my testimony in its entirety and the attachment be included in the minutes of this meeting. Thank you for the time allotted to me to speak.
Last modified on Sunday, 18 April 2010 12:03
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