In the scheme of things, the misspending the state auditor found in the Puget Sound Partnership is petty stuff. There was no fraud, and such waste as there was appears in the order of tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands of dollars. In government circles, that probably passes for budget dust.
But any sloppiness with money doesn’t reflect well on an agency whose mission, cleaning up Puget Sound, is waaaaay underfunded.
You’d think somebody would anticipate the image problems it would run into when the public learned that it bypassed competitive bidding requirements and spent scarce money on such items as mahogany gift boxes and 5,000 tubes of lip balm.
When an agency stands at the corner with a cardboard sign, “Will clean Puget Sound for money,” it probably shouldn’t be passing out monogrammed jackets and fleece vests to passing admirers.