In this instance, the auditor’s office recommended that the board ensure its actions comply with the state constitution, laws and other mandates.
“Fiduciary responsibility is essential and should require continuous effort and assessment of all transactions brought to the board for approval,” it states. “Board members should follow the Iowa Constitution’s ban on the donation of public dollars to non-public entities.”
At the time of the sale, then-school board vice president Linda Hayes worked for Third Missionary Baptist.
Hayes and then-President Ralph Johanson both noted they might have conflicts of interest in a closed meeting on March 12, 2018.
“Although Johanson did not submit an offer to purchase the building, once he became interested in purchasing the property himself, he had a conflict of interest,” the auditor’s report states.
While Hayes did not vote, she participated in every closed meeting, spoke favorably of the plan in both closed and open meetings and made the motion for the board to vote.
“In addition, once Director Hayes’ employer expressed an interest in purchasing the property, she had a conflict of interest,” the report states. “From the point in time a conflict of interest existed for the two board members, they should have recused themselves from any further involvement in discussions or decisions regarding the sale of the property to prevent an actual or appearance of being compromised or attempting to influence the board’s decision.”