Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A colossal accounting failure aboard the SunBus

Accounting for transportation taxpayer dollars is a serious matter. Regular audits protect public finances from potential misuse. The Transit Coalition was discouraged to hear that the SunLine Transit Agency failed to complete its annual audit even though the transit agency was granted a quarter-long extension. It is without question that regular audits of public transportation dollars is essential to minimize wasteful spending. SunLine's budget has remained strong for the last several years; any spending abuse must be uncovered and stopped to keep the transit agency fiscally healthy.

SunLine's Board of Directors placed its General Manager C. Mikel Oglesby on paid administrative leave while the Riverside County Transportation Commission was forced to withhold $812,000 in state funding. Ogleby claimed last week that the audit failure was linked to personnel issues. It's true that SunLine's finance director Brenda Walker was recently fired, but HR issues are no excuse. The three month extension was more than enough time to address the issues. Now transit riders in the Coachella Valley are losing out in delayed state funding while Oglesby faces big trouble. SunLine's operating budget has remained fiscally healthy over the course of the past decade; let's keep it that way.

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