Ongoing mess inside the PDA is no surprise | Letter to the editor

Posted 6/10/21

After sitting on the sidelines for seven years watching the chaos taking place with the PDA employees and paid staff members (not the volunteer board), the mess that was created by this organization …

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Ongoing mess inside the PDA is no surprise | Letter to the editor

Posted

After sitting on the sidelines for seven years watching the chaos taking place with the PDA employees and paid staff members (not the volunteer board), the mess that was created by this organization does not surprise me and should not surprise anyone else.

Many key staff positions at PDA were not necessary, and, yes, most were being paid well above the norms for equivalent positions that exist out in the market within the hospitality industry. 

Also, when the top position at PDA and key staff personnel are being compensated to a level that is twice that of what the park ranger earns who is responsible for seven state parks in the region, it should have been very obvious that something was terribly wrong. 

Top staff at PDA were also being paid well over the equivalent of what the top Fort Worden Treatment Center staff members were being paid when the Juvenile Diagnostic Center was being operated on the Fort Campus several decades ago, and many of the treatment center positions required much higher levels of education than the top tier PDA staff.

As for the financial executive officer position at PDA, that work could and should have been outsourced to a qualified CPA firm, and it would have cost much less than paying for a full-time, in-house executive. All that PDA really needed was a bookkeeper who would be responsible for transferring figures and data to the CPA firm who would have made sure that the books were not being cooked. 

As past state audits indicated, the PDA lacked internal controls, which made it ripe for fraud. 

Simple fixes in accounting procedures could have been put in place to stop the fraud, but PDA staff obviously had no interest in that.

Bayly Miller
TACOMA

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HarveyW

Welcome to this weeks installment of Harvey's History. Not for those with short attention spans.

The volunteer board did have fiduciary responsibility, with at least one member wanting full title of all of Fort Worden in the beginning.

What occurred under Executive Director Robeson was empire building. It is the way things are done. Personal egos attached to local icons are everywhere. The wasted money that could have been directed towards maintenance in many out of the box ways could not happen. There is a set way these things are done. Egos and waste. Glamping. In $120k tents. That won't last.

Alternative ideas including housing for veterans and what too late became Makers Place with a hefty price tag of its own were ignored. All was a done deal before it began with a member of the Fort Worden Advisory board becoming a State Parks Commissioner to make sure things went as planned.

The City Council and Appointed Mayor ignored State audits. This current Appointed Mayor, and this Council. Now overseeing installing a new board. What can go wrong?

The audit problems were Pre Covid.

It was the responsibility of Appointed Mayor Sandoval and Council to step in. Sandoval signed the FWPDA into existence. There were also in this paper published concerns by the State that "partners", special interests, were not paying realistic rents to assist in upkeep.

"Partners" were part of the takeover by locals of the campus after Centrum bailed, after making money on sub letting parts of the Campus to businesses that did not follow inclusive requirements the MOU with the State required. The State failed, starting the flawed foundation all was built on.

This local paper's then owner was on the FWPDA board and avid proponent. 2 long streams of critical comments on 2 FWPDA stories were later removed. I did paste them back a few months ago. If you want to control the public, eliminate their understanding of their history.

One must always deconstruct terms like "the City" and know key manipulators and players. The City can't effectively run the City. It didn't under City Manager Timmons, now at Fort Worden making some $140k per year. The city failed to oversee its shadow organization the FWPDA. They turned someone they had fired for ethics violations loose as Executive Director. You can't make this stuff up.

No responsibility from the Appointed Mayor. Or Council.

To paraphrase Jackson Browne and Greg Allman- Don't confront us with our failures, we will not acknowledge them. From the song These Days for those too young to remember.

All was predicted. All was attempted to be stopped. All was ignored by State and City. The deal was done.

Too complex for "the public". Still is. Look at current manipulations and players. Timmons again. Most won't connect the dots. Too complex.

Privatization under the outgoing board and Timmons of the most lucrative parts this week. Too complex. And so it goes.

5 days ago