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Greenwell files papers hoping to force state audit of Sioux City school district finances
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Greenwell files papers hoping to force state audit of Sioux City school district finances

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SIOUX CITY -- Contending there is a need for the top state taxpayers' watchdog to get involved, Sioux City school district watchdog Dan Greenwell has filed a petition to force an audit of the district's finances.

Dan Greenwell

Greenwell

Greenwell, a businessman, has been a persistent critic of district finances and reporting. He again spoke out on district details in the most recent school board meeting Monday. The next day, he filed documents with the Iowa State Auditor's Office to push for an audit.

Along with exhibits, Greenwell included 281 signatures on a petition to pursue the state action. Writing to Auditor Rob Sand, Greenwell cited the district for having a "weak nature of financial controls and complete lack of board review and approval procedures surrounding pay practices."

Greenwell also said some expenses are being misclassified and credit card spending in the millions of dollars is happening without proper approval and review processes.

His latest move comes on the heels of school board member David Gleiser saying an outside audit is warranted on the process by which district administrator salaries are determined and publicly shared. However, the school board does not plan to take that action, after discussing the possibility at a special work session in late June.

Gleiser has said it isn't clear the process of setting the pay for administrators has been uniformly transparent in recent years, so he said the board should consider requesting a state audit. Greenwell is now seeking to force Sands' office to act.

On Wednesday, the auditor's office Performance Investigation Division director, Jim Cunningham, told the Journal that Greenwell's petition had been received.

Cunningham said the agency will review Greenwell's documents and determine if an audit is warranted. If so, district officials will be informed of that step, he said. Cunningham said it's unknown how soon a decision will be made.

The Journal's request to the district for comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Last year, Greenwell pursued action through the Iowa Public Information Board. In September, IPIB dismissed Greenwell's claim that the Sioux City School Board violated the state's public meetings laws by not providing budget information he sought.

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On Wednesday, Greenwell in an interview said, "In the most recent board work session, David Gleiser’s message when urging his fellow board members to call for an audit was on point: Why is the administration and board working so hard on not being transparent and not complying with good disclosure and sound business practices?"

He added, "This demonstrated lack of accountability is very concerning to taxpayers. Citizens (by signing the petition) strongly believe the state auditor’s office should perform re-audits of the district’s financial statements.”

In the April 8 school board meeting, Greenwell said he looked at meeting minutes and could not find votes in which the members approved administrative salaries individually. Greenwell said the board should review the last four years to make sure the combination of individual administrative salaries did not exceed the overall pool package of administrator salaries money that was approved by the school board members each year.

Procedures governing administrative salaries were put in place in 2010, in an Administrative Compensation Plan that received board approval.

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