Dubious Practices

An investigative audit of the Office of the Court Monitor--an agency created in 1991 to assure that court orders handed down in the Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit are implemented--has been completed. Audit results are expected to be made public by the end of the year.

Dennis Metrick, program manager at the Administrative Office of the Courts (an arm of the Arizona Supreme Court), says his office has completed a preliminary report.

"I don't think you're going to find anything more than you found," Metrick tells New Times. "It's a slow process, but they [auditors] found the same things--dubious internal management-control practices and records maintenance. They didn't discover anything outright criminal, but basically reconfirmed what you got."

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Bernard Dougherty ordered the audit in June, after a New Times story ("Mental Health Masquerade, Part Two," June 8, 1995) detailed fiscal improprieties in the office.

Dougherty commissioned the certified public accounting firm of Miller Allen and Company to perform the audit.

The New Times investigation into the $500,000-a-year Office of the Court Monitor revealed slipshod accounting practices, double billings and other irregularities.

Court Monitor Linda Glenn says she welcomed the audit and the chance to make improvements deemed necessary.

"As I told you before, I think I'm an honest person, and I'm not in this business to make money," says Glenn, who is a consultant in several disability class-action lawsuits around the nation.

"If we made mistakes and things looked bad, I'm sorry," Glenn says. "I just didn't want any of this to hurt our SMIs [seriously mentally ill], because that's really why I'm here."

Glenn notes that, as the 14-year-old Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit phases out, allegedly in the next few years, her office will be disbanded.--Paul Rubin

 
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