September 21, 2016 – Tampa Bay Times
by Mark Puente
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch accused the leader of CareerSource Pinellas of terminating a contract with an accounting firm without approval from the agency’s 29-member board.
Welch lodged the complaint Wednesday against CareerSource president and CEO Ed Peachy during a monthly board meeting. Welch said he discovered that the contract with CliftonAllenLarson had been terminated on Aug. 26 — four days before Peachy called an emergency meeting of CareerSource’s audit committee to consider the move.
On Aug. 30, the committee voted 3-2 against the measure. Peachy wanted to hire a new auditor after learning that CliftonAllenLarson hired Sue Pagan, the former chief financial officer at CareerSource Pinellas. Welch said he called the accounting firm to ask about the conflict and discovered that a CareerSource attorney already sent an email to end the contract.
“This is the issue of the highest concern to me,” Welch said, adding he would alert county commissioners and administrators about the move.
“Who authorized this termination on Aug. 26? To this day, the audit committee has not given approval to terminate the contract.”
CareerSource Pinellas, formerly called WorkNet Pinellas, is one of Florida’s 24 regional help wanted centers is a one-stop shop primarily to help jobless and those seeking career-advancing opportunities. The executive committee consists of business leaders, elected officials and some members appointed by the county.
Peachy did not explain why he failed to tell the audit committee about the contract termination.
“Decisions are not supposed to be made before they come to the audit committee,” Welch replied.
Welch also called Peachy’s decision “flawed” because Pagan had worked at the firm in 2015 when it performed a CareerSource audit, but she didn’t play a role in the audit. Peachy’s role as a voting member of the audit committee could also violate Florida’s Sunshine Laws, Welch said. [READ MORE]