Desk Audit Conducted by Company that Employs Lynn Knight

Senator Paul Manglona with Deanne Seimer and Lynn Knight at May 2010 Hearing

















October 10, 2010

Today's Marianas Variety says that Fitial wants "more third party" assessments of the government's organizational structure. Was the desk audit a "third party" audit?

It seems there is always a CNMI connection to those who are hired by the Fitial Administration to do their "independent" studies.   Just like the Conway/McPhee Economic Report, that was worded just so that Fitial could use it for his anti-federalization lawsuit, this desk audit has a Fitial connection. In previous posts, Some Thoughts on the Economic Report,  Here is the Economic Report and Economic Report Based on Conflicting Data, I outlined the connections between the garment industry, Fitial and the report's authors.

Two people who left comments on previous posts stated that the desk audit was completed by a firm that employs Lynn Knight. Knight was a former (and perhaps current)  Fitial lobbyist, formerly worked for the CNMI garment and hotel industries, and  was hired by the Fitial Administration to lobby against federalization. She also served as the chair of the CNMI Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Commission (CEDS).  Knight's linked in profile lists her employment experience as:
Current

* Communications Director in Washington D.C. at Office of the Governor, Northern Mariana Islands
* Project Manager at Management Analysis, Inc.

Past

* Governor's Washington D.C. Representative at U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
* Chairwoman at Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Commission for the Northern Mariana Islands
* Chairwoman at Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands
* Publisher and Vice President at The Saipan Tribune
* Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Tan Holdings
* Creative Director / President at Sunset Advertising Group, Inc.
* Bureau Chief & News Anchorwoman at Saipan Cable TV
* Director of the Office of the Chairman at ComputerLand Corporation
Further down the page, she states that she worked as the Governor's Communication Director in Washington, DC from August 2009 -present and she works as the project manager for management Analysis, Inc. from August 2009 -present.  She worked as the Governor's Washington DC representative from February 2009- July 2009. Her profile states, "Serve as communications liaison for the Governor the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the nation’s capital. Represent the Governor with top level policy makers on a portfolio of issues, including economic development, immigration (tourist visas, foreign investment, guest workers, foreign students), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."

In January 2009, it was announced that Knight would be taking leave from her Tan position to lobby for the governor. Staffers from various Congressional offices confirmed that she was lobbying; however, she failed to register as a lobbyist.

A July 30, 2010 Saipan Tribune article announced that Knight was moving to Washington DC, but failed to say she was working for Fitial as his Communication Director or as the Project Manager of Management Analysis, Inc.

How much is Knight paid to be Fitial's Communication Director in Washington, DC?  At the same time that she is working for the governor, she is a Project Manager at Management Analysis, Inc., the company that was hired by Fitial to conduct the $300,000 desk audit of the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Public Safety.  The audit was paid for by federal funds through a DOI technical assistance grant.

What bidding process was there for this contract, if any?  Is it a conflict of interest to be working for the governor and for the company conducting the desk audit?

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan for the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, for the years 2009 to 2014 cites Knight as a primary author.  On page 6 the report states:
In October of 2008, the CEDS Commission released a Request for Qualifications and hired Management Analysis Inc. of Vienna, Virginia as its consultants: 
Arthur Smith
President, Management Analysis, Inc.
Sergio Loya
Project Manager, Management Analysis, Inc.
While the desk audit was paid for by U.S. taxes dollars, the consultants were hired two years ago by the CNMI government. How much was this contract for, what is the length of the contract, and what did they accomplish?   Loya visited the CNMI in 2008 when he accompanied  Knight and Commerce Secretary Ada to interview government agency personnel.  In January 2009 he returned to the CNMI with Management Analysis, Inc. President Arthur Smith to interview CNMI officials and hold public hearings. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan  states that in January 2009 Sergio Loya wrote “United States Farm Cooperatives Proposal for the Island of Rota, Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands."  In March 2009, Loya was a presenter at an economic summit on Saipan.

Sergio Loya's linked in profile states:
He was a key advisor to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic (CEDS) plan and the principle advisor to Wil Chee Planning and Environmental (Hawaii) on the CNMI Comprehensive Water Infrastructure Plan (CWIP) in the CNMI.
An Open Government Act request may reveal how much the CNMI has paid to Knight and Management Analysis, Inc.  Perhaps the Office of the Public Auditor could conduct future desk audits. Maybe the office should start with the Governor's Office.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for doing the legwork.