Audit prying financial secrets from Dana Cope’s SEANC

From an editorial Tuesday in the (Raleigh) News and Observer:

There is much to be worried about in an audit that covers spending by Dana Cope, the resigned director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

But the biggest worry may be that some documents that could have been pertinent to the questionable spending by Cope have been shredded. A computer hard drive also has been removed from the association’s offices. What more enlightenment might be coming if those issues did not exist?

The audit did find some maddening things. Mitch Leonard, who took over as director in February, said in a letter that Cope repeatedly used SEANC credit for his own benefit. The spending and credit card transactions by Cope added up to nearly half a million dollars.

Joseph Qubain, a SEANC board member and employee of the state Department of Transportation, put it mildly if anything in his reaction to the audit: “We were shocked at the amount. Remember, this is only 28 months’ worth.” That’s right. The period of time covered by the audit is only a fraction of Cope’s 15-year tenure.

Since The News & Observer’s Joseph Neff wrote the first stories about Cope’s spending earlier this year, SEANC has made changes, dismissed some employees and apologized to the two whistle-blowers who helped bring Cope’s performance into question.

But there are miles to go.

All members of the executive committee should be removed, and SEANC needs to continue to refine a new plan, an organizational plan, for leadership.