Lawmakers Discover Early Gear Up Records Were Destroyed
How long should agencies receiving government funding keep their records? It appears there are no absolutes in record keeping according to what has been discovered by the Government Audit and Operations Committee as they spent two days looking into the Gear Up and Mid Central Educational Cooperative, and their connection to the late Scott Westerhuis.
GOAC committee member Billy Sutton describes the record keeping for Gear Up. "One of the challenges we ran into with Gear Up is that a lot of state departments aren't required to keep documents for an extended amount of time." says Sutton. "I think five years is the standard." Sutton plans to introduce legislation to create an absolute time frame of how long records must be kept.
Republican Senator and GOAC Committee member Stace Nelson expressed outrage during the Government Audit and Operations Committee’s 2-day probe of the GEAR UP scandal and subsequent murder/suicide. He talks of the
"There are people involved in Mid Central that did some inappropriate things. This was created supervised and managed by the department of education." says Nelson. "Any mishandling of these monies, the Department of Education is responsible. The GOAC is supposed to look into this and get down to the brass tax of the financial aspects and operational aspects of it, and they've (Department of Education) has done possible to keep that from it from happening."
Nelson says responsibility lies squarely at the feet of then Governor Mike Rounds and then Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is now Governor. Nelson said the Governor’s office and a good number of legislators have been actively obstructing the investigation.