The Parker Pioneer reported last week that the governing board of the Colorado River Sewage System Joint Venture had been surprised to learn of loans made to employees from its funds for years, and one in particular that caught their eye, made in the amount of $50,000 by its General Manager Andy Jones to himself.
The public sewage system is jointly owned by the Town of Parker and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. At least two of the board members say they did not have any knowledge that the Joint Venture had been issuing loans to its employees. The Pioneer reports:
Board Chairman Charles Cruise said he first learned of the loan Nov. 10 from the auditing firm of Eide Bailly LLP. They had performed Joint Venture’s annual audit in July. When he learned of the loan, Cruise said he decided to look into the matter further. When asked about the loan at the Dec. 8 meeting, Jones said Joint Venture has long had a policy of advancing or loaning funds to employees. … Jones said everything he had done was within his authority as the board had been placed him in charge of the utility’s investments.
Board member Mayor Steve Madoneczky is reported to have “asked when Joint Venture became a credit union.” Jones said the loan was being paid back at 3.5% (commercial unsecured loan rates run an average of 12-15%).
Jones says these loans are nothing unusual. But Joint Venture Office Manager Valerie Jackson admitted that, although a policy allowing such loans dates back to 1991, the policy states that the Board must approve them.
The Joint Venture board has set another meeting for January 19th at 2pm to consider the matter further.