Bill Fleiner, is the part time DES Coordinator for Broadwater County. He is also the registered agent of Paradigm Preparedness and Solutions which coincidently, since March 2012, has been the recipient of grants from the State of Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Agency (DES)—these grants are federal, state and/or local taxpayer funds—otherwise referred to as “free money”. Bill Fleiner submitted invoices for work his company Paradigm performed, the Paradigm contracted work was directed and approved by the Broadwater DES Coordinator—Bill Fleiner.
Nothing to See Here
According to the KXLH news report: “The county came up $21,000 short when recent DES grant funding was rejected to be paid back by the state. "Because we didn't use state procurement in order to do the work. The second part was because it was I had an interest in this company." explained (Bill) Fleiner. (Quoted verbatim from the news report.)
It appears, from the KXLH video clip, Fleiner lays the responsibility for the alleged improper payments squarely on the Commissioners, after all, they signed off on the payments submitted by Bill Fleiner, Paradigm Registered Agent and approved by Bill Fleiner, Broadwater County DES Coordinator. There may have been earlier signs the Broadwater County Commissioners might have questioned such as; probably a W-9 for Paradigm signed by Fleiner and likely a W-4 for Fleiner as an employee of Broadwater County, just guessing here but a few paychecks issued by Broadwater County to Bill Fliener, grant reimbursements to Paradigm, and the Secretary of State Filing listing Bill Fleiner as the registered owner of Paradigm. Nothing to See Here
After a year of reimbursing Broadwater County for Paradigm invoices (even retroactively for an invoice before the contract was signed) the State DES Agency may have made the connection between Fleiner and Paradigm. Actually, it is unclear whether DES made the connection or an anonymous letter identifying the problem forced the issue. The State DES Grant Manager, Angie Mullikin, did what any responsible civil servant would do; she withheld payment from Broadwater County. Luckily for Fleiner and Paradigm, Broadwater County (the taxpayers) pays the contractor (Paradigm), then requests reimbursement from the State DES, who then approves the payment and requests reimbursement from the federal level, who borrows the money from China, which in turn the taxpayers pay with interest. Usually there would be nothing to see here, but let’s follow the excellent customer service Mullikin provided to Broadwater County.
Mulikin consulted with Bill Fleiner; however, it is not clear if the consultation was with Bill Fleiner, the Broadwater County DES Coordinator or Bill Fleiner, the Paradigm registered agent. Isn’t this a “conflict of interest” to resolve the conflict of interest with the Conflict of Interest? After the consultation, Mullikin advised Broadwater County to pass a “Conflict of Interest” Resolution or design internal controls and then reimbursement would be paid from what appears to be “other” grant funds—pay close attention, this illustrates due diligence and the need for a slush fund of “free money”. This IS going above and around state statute (law) 2-2-201 Conflict of Interest and the federal regulations of grants—so again Nothing to See Here
Fleiner cites procurement procedures were not followed.— Did Fleiner not follow procurement procedures when he recommended and contracted his company for the grants? Did his company knowingly violate the procurement procedures or did Fleiner as a Broadwater County Employee neglect to inform the commissioners of the procedures? Or was his company not qualified to write the grants due to lack of knowledge and expertise, resulting in these issues? Was Bill Fleiner providing any oversight of the company he contracted with to provide this service; the company owned by Bill Fleiner. Does this remind anyone of the GSA “scandal” where Party Planner Extraordinaire *Jeff Neeley’s supervisor was himself, but Neeley was properly punished when he retired at $100,000 a year. Nothing to See Here
*See Accountability GSA, if you need a refresher on Jeff Neeley.
The Helena Big Sky Tea Party contacted the Townsend Citizens Group and requested to review their documentation (June 12, 2013 story See Accountability Montana DES) when alleged spending irregularities and a possible conflict of interest were brought to light in Broadwater County