"Some of the most creative fiction I have ever read!" - New York Times
"Move over Tolkien. Rensselaer County's books are the new gold standard for fantasy." - St. Louis Dispatch
"I wish I could run a county like that!" - Boss Hogg, County Executive, Hazzard County, Georgia
The Weed 'n Seed program is in the final year of a 5-year grant cycle. Rensselaer County was the fiscal agent during the first four years of the program. Due to county misfeasance, the City of Troy will be the fiscal agent for year five.
During the last week of April, the Federal government came to Troy to audit the Weed 'n Seed books. Apparently, the county's books were some of the most creative fiction written in years. The county provided little help, often flat out refusing to provide either information or personnel to the auditors. In fact, the Federal program manager, Faith Baker, ended up slamming her fist on the table during one meeting out of frustration over the county's lack of cooperation.
In the end, the Federal auditors found significant problems with the county's fiscal records. Over $100,000 in funds were either not allocated or incorrectly allocated by the county. These were funds that should have been spent in the City of Troy!
The Federal Government is requiring the county to return the money to the Federal Government. The Federal Government will then turn the funds over to the City of Troy. The implication is clear: The United States Government does not trust Rensselaer County to pay the funds to Troy.
Additionally, the Feds found that the county never corrected issues brought to light by a 2003 audit. The county is being required to provide appropriate paper work to explain expenditure dating back to the original inception date of the grant. We have been assured that county workers are creating that paper work as we speak.
These findings confirm long standing suspicions that the county was mismanaging the money. The findings also vindicate former program coordinator Mary Beth McGowan, whom the county dismissed, blaming her for the financial mess.
The City tried and failed to get a new grant in 2005, but is attempting to do so again for 2006.
Do the county's failings hurt the City's future chances? We'll find out.
Ever wonder what Crow tastes like? Ask some people at the County.