If you believe Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, Coeur d’Alene City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, Deputy Finance Director Vonnie Jenson [sic], and others cited in US Attorney Wendy Jo Olson’s Response to Objection to Impact Statements filed for the March 4, 2013, sentencing hearing of convicted former City employee Sheryl Carroll, the aforementioned Mayor, Administrator, and Deputy Finance Director were all victims themselves of Carroll’s larcenous cleverness.
Quoting character Al Borland, comedian Tim Allen’s reserved and always skeptical straight man in the 90’s television series Home Improvement, “I don’t think so, Tim.”
It’s convenient for Bloem, Gabriel, and Jensen to suggest they, too, were deceived. Perhaps their hope is Coeur d’Alene residents and voters will forget that preventing Carroll’s embezzlement was their duty and responsibility as public officials. It was a duty shared by City Finance Director Troy Tymesen. It was also the duty of City Human Resources Director Pam MacDonald to have properly investigated Carroll’s background to determine if there was anything suggesting Carroll was untrustworthy.
After Carroll’s embezzlement lasting nearly a decade came to light, some people pointed the finger of blame solely at the City’s longtime auditors at Magnuson, McHugh & Company, P.A. But as noted in our December 16, 2012, OpenCdA post titled Trust Staff? 365,000 Good Reasons Why Not!, the Mag-Mac auditing agreement with the City, approved and accepted by the aforementioned City officials and Council, clearly states:
You [the Mayor and Council] agree that management [the City government] is responsible for: (a ) the design and implementation of programs and controls to prevent and detect fraud, (b) informing us [Magnuson, McHugh] about any fraud or suspected fraud affecting the entity involving management, employees who have significant roles in internal control, or others where the fraud could have a material effect on the financial statements or major federal award programs, and (c) informing us [Magnuson, McHugh] about any allegations of fraud or suspected fraud affecting the entity received in communications from employees, former employees, analysts, regulators, short sellers, or others.
So while Bloem, Gabriel, Jensen, Tymesen, and MacDonald would like the citizens and voters of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to believe that Carroll’s embezzlement was “sophisticated” as if that somehow absolves them from performing their supervisory duties as public administrators, the fact remains that Carroll was hired even though a reasonably and appropriately thorough background check by MacDonald should have uncovered Carroll’s prior felony conviction for theft. The fact remains that her superiors in the City of Coeur d’Alene who had a duty to diligently supervise her simply trusted her rather that putting in place the “programs and controls to prevent and detect fraud.”
Sheryl Carroll will be checking into federal prison for 40 months for embezzling approximately $365,000. Those who testified to the impact of her crimes would like us to believe the buck stopped with Sheryl Carroll. They would like us to forget their agreement with Magnuson, McHugh & Company, P.A., which clearly shows the buck stopped with them and others in the City administration.
ADDENDUM at 4:36 p.m. on March 5: Here is the press release issued today by the US Attorney for the District of Idaho.