Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Re: Request for action voiding contract, investigation, civil and or criminal prosecution, and subsequent removal of government officials if violations of RCW 43.88 or other unlawful acts are found to have been committed

Dear Governor Gregoire, Auditor Sonntag and Attorney General McKenna:

I write in my capacity as a very concerned citizen and community stakeholder of Central Washington University and wish to express my concern that at least one prima facie violation of the Washington State Budget and Accounting Act, RCW 43.88, may have occurred in regards to the $500,000 James Gaudino bonus which the Central Washington University Trustees approved on October 7, 2011.  Last Friday, October 21, 2011, President Gaudino acknowledged that there is no plan or known source of the funding for his bonus and that the money could come from a variety of future income sources.  The act of granting Mr. Gaudino this bonus appears to be a direct attempt to do an end run around the painful and exhaustive attempts of the people of the State of Washington through their elected officials to deal with the current budget crisis. 

The Central Washington University Board of Trustees have an ethical duty as stated in their bylaws not to overexpend university funds and the bylaws also advise them that they are subject to the provisions of the Budget And Accounting Act, see CWU 1.5.1 (5) A which reads as follows: 

The Budget and Accounting Act contains severe penalties for the intentional or negligent overexpending or overencumbering of any appropriation made by law, for failing to properly account for any expenditure by fund, program or fiscal period, or for expending funds contrary to the terms, limits, or conditions of any appropriation made by law.

There is a tidal wave of public sentiment building against this bonus and the egregious and flagrant breach of the duty of good faith it represents against various stakeholders in the Central Washington University community, especially in light of the fact that no one knows where these funds will come from or if there will be a source of funds in the future for this contractual liability. 

The fact that the bonus is unfunded (I presume this to be language for taxation purposes) and unsecured, does not mean that this contract, if otherwise valid, would not be enforceable and payable by the University and ultimately the citizens of the State of Washington.  I might add that I am among a growing contingent of community stakeholders who do not see that President Gaudino has actually achieved significant progress in increasing the diversity or numbers of students enrolled on campus (the stated reasons given by the board for the incentive bonus) and believe him to be the beneficiary of both the downturn of the economy and the stellar work performed by the President Emerita, Jerrilyn McIntyre.  Moreover, I believe Mr. Gaudino’s ability to lead the university has been seriously compromised by many other acts as well and that serious consideration should be given as to whether or not it is appropriate for him to remain in that role at all even if no violations of RCW 43.88 are found.

I respectfully request that the James Gaudino Incentive Bonus Contract be found null and void under RCW 43.88.130 prohibiting any agency from incurring liabilities in excess of the amounts appropriated for that purpose.   I also request that the State Auditor, pursuant to the provisions of RCW 43.88.160 (6) (d), take exception to the James Gaudino Incentive Bonus Contract. I also request that the Attorney General investigate whether or not civil and or criminal acts occurred in this matter pursuant to RCW 43.88.300 or RCW 43.88.270, respectively.  Finally, in the event that civil or criminal violations by the Board of Trustees are found to have occurred, I request that the Governor petition for the removal of the Trustees pursuant to RCW 28B.10.500.


Theresa Petrey

Friday, October 21, 2011

Re: James Gaudino Bonus and general concerns regarding the direction of Central Washington University

Dear Members of the Board:

I write today in my capacity as a very concerned citizen of Kittitas County, a community member who somewhat to her own surprise has grown deeply to care about what happens on the Central Washington University campus during the past few years, and as a lawyer who from time to time assists persons who are within the potential donor pool for charitable bequests to the University. 

Despite carefully evaluating the information available publicly, I find myself increasingly disturbed by what I perceive is a lack of foresight by the board in awarding such a large incentive package to Mr. Gaudino which does not appear to actually be tied to performance benchmarks and reflects what might be described as a thinly veiled opportunism by Mr. Gaudino, who most likely knew his compensation is out of line with his peers in Washington State. Unfortunately for the University, I am not alone in my concerns. 

I have heard other normally circumspect business people in the community make comments which I won’t repeat here indicating that they believe the Board of Trustees has made a serious mistake in this matter and that they do not know what is now “going on” at CWU.  I have heard from university employees that they are afraid to speak out about waste that they see for fear that they will face retribution.  I have read the same.  I have read that there are concerns among student leaders that the Board of Trustees may have diverted funds that are to be used for students, or at minimum diverting funds from students that have always been used for students not just at this university, but at the State’s flagship university, the University of Washington.  There is also a rumor that the faculty is taking a vote of no confidence in President Gaudino.

In short, I wish to emphasize that I believe you have done significant long term damage to Central Washington University’s reputation in your potential donor community and among other stakeholders here locally due to this ill thought out bonus plan.  I would strongly suggest that you seriously consider modifying your contract with Mr. Gaudino and or consider appointing an acting president in his stead, as I suspect his ability to lead in these troubled times will be substantially diminished due to this avoidable controversy despite his considerable public relations skills.   


Theresa Petrey

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Main Street

A few years ago, I would tell anyone who would listen that I believed that the banking industry bailout and the subprime mortgage meltdown were the biggest wealth transfer of wealth away from the middle class and the poor this country has ever seen.  And, that, when the American people finally realized what had happended, there would be protesting in the streets.  That day has come and I will be doing my best to add my voice to the protest.

Most of my business colleagues, fellow Rotarians, ward and stake friends know by now that I was diagnosed with stage IIIc inflammatory breast cancer over the Summer.  I have done pretty well with not being angry or terribly sad about this situation.  I am keeping my office open, working my cases, taking a few select new cases, and in general moving forward with my life in all aspects.  But I have to tell you, that loosing one's hair through chemo is a truly maddening process.  I feel quite pissed off.

Add to that, the ongoing problems I have had with the relatively new business neighbor in Kittitas, that does very little business and appears to be a lifestyle club for men with little to do durning business hours but play with large trucks.  Last week, I had two business meetings interrupted by engine revving.  You should know that I have been trying for months to work out the noise, fume and parking issues.  Vehicle Repair is not supposed to be taking place there under the 2007 zoning code and the original tenant told me that they were only supposed to do repair work incidental to retail product installations. The old garage was not grandfathered in as far as I know.

I intend to re-occupy my place on Main Street in Kittitas.  We will see how it goes.  I may have to resort to protest signs if my petition for code enforcement doesn't work.  Or go lawyeristic and file a nuisance suit.  Or, maybe, simply move back to Ellensburg.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,