Wednesday, February 16, 2011
$50,000 bonus for the Arizona Historical Society?
Looking from the outside, there is nothing exceptional about the Arizona Historical Society. In spite of massive state support, it does not have a top rated museum. Attendance is apparently so embarrassing they will not even release numbers. The AHS is unable to support itself, and depends on tax dollars and land trust funds to exist.
The AHS has also had several taxpayer funded fiascos. The Marley Center Museum was ridiculed at length in the media, and criticized severely by the Auditor General. It gave Arizona a big black eye, and taxpayers are still not out from under the debt. The Rio Nuevo museum ate up $1.5 million in public money and nothing was ever built. The highly controversial 5C Arizona Centennial Museum looks doomed from the beginning. Although no work has even started yet, not even preparation of designer’s and architect’s drawings, it is already a year behind schedule (see note 1) and 50% over budget. The “centennial museum” can never be open for Arizona’s centennial. Yet someone is getting performance pay (AKA: a bonus).
The performance pay is shown on www.azcheckbook.com under category 6028: Performance Pay. In FY 2009 the state paid $49,000, and in FY 2010 the state paid $42,500. Thankfully, few payments are shown for FY 2012 thus far, but why were there ever any?
What exactly did the AHS accomplish that merited taxpayer funded “performance pay”?
1. The Arizona Centennial Foundation is supposedly responsible for building the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum for the AHS. Since everything is done in secret, it is impossible to determine exactly who is responsible for the delay. However, as documented in prior posts, the AHS itself is responsible for the incomplete initial cost estimate.
2. www.azcheckbook.com only reports the use of appropriated funds. AHS use of non-appropriated funds is unknown, since they have apparently not filed the required reports with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for the past nine years. Are there more bonuses that the public cannot see?
Apparently, someone in the legislature was recently trying to investigate the use of non-appropriated funds (again). The following paragraph is contained in the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee References as of 7/28/10. The words in italics suggest the AHS failed to implement adequate financial controls even after repeatedly being busted by the Auditor General (1995-2002).
116. The Arizona Historical Society’s Treasurer shall submit to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee a written report detailing all expenditures of non appropriated funds for the Arizona Historical Society at the beginning of each quarter. (A.R.S. 41.821E as amended by laws 1997, Chapter 58. Section 21 and laws 2002, Chapter 241, Section 17) (Applies retroactively to Aug 9, 2001)