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What? No Paperwork!

On January 7th I wrote about something fishy going on at the Hall of Administration regarding staff support for First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen Nguyen’s Staff, and the budget shell game. I was hoping that at some point my request for additional information would yield a satisfactory explanation. I was wrong.

I asked a series of straight-forward follow-up questions of Ms. Markley in the CEO’s office. Basically, I asked to see any paperwork, electronic or written, regarding the assignment of HCA Staff to Janet Nguyen’s office. The response was beyond credibility:

I also had submitted several other questions on January 6th that I had been waiting for answers on as well.

Concerning the position loaned to Supervisor Nguyen from HCA, there was only one position loaned from HCA.  The blogger [Matt Cunningham at Red County/OCBlog] incorrectly summarized the conversation with the CEO.  As I previously explained, two people were in the position at different times and that may be the source of the confusion.

For your question about how much money has been used from the HCA budget, the updated total charges to HCA for this single position (including both individuals) was $36,800 total (direct salary charges + labor burden) since June.  In fact, the loaned position was recently returned back to HCA, so the position was loaned for a period of six months, during which the position was vacant for approximately seven weeks

You also asked how many staff members currently support Supervisor Nguyen’s office.  Supervisor Nguyen’s office has a total of eight staff members as of January 9, 2008.

Concerning the authority delegated to the CEO, according to County Counsel, Codified Ordinance, Sec. 1-2-64 provides the CEO authority for budgetary decisions within the approved budget.

The normal budget process I referred to involves quarterly budget review and adjustments by the CEO Budget Office.

The last two answers are the ones that now have me wondering about the accuracy of the claim that no records exist.

If the CEO actually had addressed this matter in the “quarterly budget review” then there would have to be something in writing and the budgets for both the Health Care Agency and the First District Supervisor’s office would have corresponding adjustment requests.

I’ve asked Markley how, when, and where in a budget adjustment request did the matter get addressed.  I looked through the reports for the last quarter of FY 2007/08 as well as the first quarter of FY 2008/09 and I can’t find a mention of any staffing adjustments for Supervisor Nguyen’s office. Maybe they aren’t written down on paper or electronically either?

But the most intriguing aspect of all of this is that 13 years after the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States, our CEO can spend $36,800 out of the Health Care Agency budget to provide “off the books” staff support to Supervisor Nguyen’s office and there is no written or electronic documentation of the transaction.

Wow, County CEO Tom Mauk has taken the concept of a paperless office to a new level. He runs a record-less office.

I’ve got some outstanding questions in to the CEO’s office, but this is getting beyond scary.