The Central Valley’s public television station is under fire for not complying with requirements for Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants and Federal Communications Act public records disclosures.
The Office of the Inspector General of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting released an audit of Valley PBS – KVPT-TV – last week detailing the issues.
The big picture: Valley PBS could be on the hook to repay more than $200,000 in community service grants it received from taxpayers. The Inspector General recommended that the station repay that total as well as making financial records and employment information open to the public.
- The audit also requested that Valley PBS fully comply with rules for harassment prevention training and make its diversity statement open to the public.
Go deeper: The audit examined grants awarded to Valley PBS from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. Valley PBS stated it had $1,684,901 in Non-Federal Financial Support, which resulted in Community Service grants overpayments of $214,340.
- The financial miscues arose during a tumultuous period for ValleyPBS with major change at CEO and occurred under the tenure of current Clovis Veterans Memorial District chief Lorenzo Rios.
KVPT’s response: In his official response to the audit, Valley PBS CEO Jeff Aiello disputed the alleged overpayments because they were made under contract with school districts, which is an eligible source for Non-Federal Financial Support.
- Aiello also pointed to the high amount of leadership turnover over the past five years, as well as dwindling governing board representation and inexperienced staff that led to the need for Valley PBS to rebuild.
- “Today, almost two years into this rebuilding effort, I’m happy to report the following,” Aiello wrote in his response. “First and foremost, a healthy and happy staff. Station morale is at an all-time high which is reflecting in the amount and quality of the work everyone is doing. Just as important, we’ve grown our governing board from 5 members in early 2021 to 15 now with new board leadership in place as well.”
- Aiello said Valley PBS has reformed its diversity committee and made harassment training mandatory to complete for new employees within their first month on the job. The station also switched accounting services to enhance accuracy and transparency in financial reporting.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story indicated the financial incidents occurred under the tenure of former ValleyPBS chief Jenny Toste. The incidents occurred after her tenure.