Monday, December 3, 2012

Planning the Plan

A local retired US military officer who served in WWII and was involved in planning the D-Day invasion retained possession of his copy of those plans. As one might imagine these plans evolved over time as better G-2 became available and open issues were resolved. The Allies managed this development by issuing update packets containing revised pages and additional pages to plan holders who were instructed to remove and destroy updated pages. This particular officer never got around to destroying the superceded pages and consequently maintained not only a completed set of plans, but a historical trail of the creation of those plans.
He had the Plan of the Plan. 
While today's endeavors pale in comparison to That Day, we, through our public officials, do make plans that affect our daily lives.These plans evolve, and as they evolve the document that we commonly call "The Plan" goes through many drafts. Just as it is fascinating to see the development of a historical document it is even more revealing to see the progression of plans and other documents created on our behalf by our public servants.

We have one such work in progress before us today: the KPMG audit of DeKalb County Schools' finances. It would be very revealing to compare and contrast the currently available draft document with the final document to see what additional items surface, what items are changed and which are eliminated. It would be even more revealing to acquire copies of all correspondence between the System and KPMG related to this effort since it is very likely that many updates will be driven by those in the System responsible for "damage control".

A "Reasonable Man" would suggest that all documents, especially something as important as a financial audit, should be proactively made public. Though it briefly was posted online that was only after it had been "leaked" and it was subsequently removed. This is unacceptable. Government organizations, DeKalb Schools, the County and the City, must maintain full, proactive disclosure of all documents and communications related to the people's business. And let's be clear, they should be doing nothing but the people's business.

One final observation: KPMG seems to think they own all distribution rights for a work product that we, the taxpayers, purchased and perhaps, by contract, they do. If this is indeed the case then our public servants should never again be party to a contract with such anti-transparency clauses and if that means KPMG walks away from our money then so be it.