COSTA MESA — Just in time for tonight’s Costa Mesa City Council meeting, when the budget for the fiscal 2011-12 year is scheduled for adoption, the results of the employee funded independent audit of the city’s books land on the stage. The audit, conducted by by Steve Foti of Harvey M. Rose Associates, a preeminent public sector consulting firm in the state, has uncovered more than $26 million that could be used by the general fund to protect vital City services, save jobs and also address the City Council majority’s desire to increase capital expenditures.
The audit identifies hidden pots of money, challenges many of the City Council’s budget priorities, and refutes the repeated insistence by City Councilmembers that Costa Mesa is on the brink of insolvency. According to the audit, it’s not.
“This report confirms that the Costa Mesa City Council majority has been hiding money to create a manufactured budget crisis – all to advance their political agenda,” said Jennifer Muir, spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA). “And now it’s been exposed: The fraud of their outsourcing program is that there is no budget deficit.”
For example, the City carries unnecessary reserves in its equipment replacement fund, but one City Councilmember has expressed plans to expand the fund.
“Such action would further degrade services to the public,” Foti writes in the report.
OCEA has requested time at tonight’s meeting to present the audit’s findings, but it is not clear whether that time will be granted. A representative will be present at the meeting to answer any questions.
Click Here to view the Executive Summary of the audit report.
Why am I not surprised that an independent audit shows that our favorite Leprechaun Mayor Gary Monahan and his gang of hooligans Jim Righeimer, Stephen Mensinger, and Eric Bever have been hiding little pots of gold in order to further a political agenda?
Seems this audit backs up the claims made yesterday by departing Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley:
“It’s very clear to me that there is no fiscal crisis in the City of Costa Mesa. The majority of the council has created budget gaps in order to affect or create the appearance of a fiscal crisis. They have pushed finance and the budget process around to get the kind of numbers that benefit their position. They have in essence lied as they create the appearance of crisis in order to appear as the white knight to a narrow band of political followers.”
One thing for sure, tonight’s meeting is likely to be entertaining to say the least.
One For The Books
Over at A Bubbling Cauldron Geoff West, Pot Stirrer extrordinaire, has a fascinating rundown of the events of Monday, June 20, 2011, which according to him; “will go down in the annals of Costa Mesa government as one of the most bizarre and contentious days in city history – a date not soon to be forgotten.”
Here’s a taste:
“It was a day when – according to some reports – mild-mannered Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch interrupted a press interview Staveley was giving and immediately ordered him to leave the premises.”
“Later in the day a press release was issued by Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell quoting Hatch and refuting much of what Staveley had to say in his memo to the troops. There are many in our town that believe few of the words in that press release are actually Hatch’s.”
“And, in an interesting bit of timing, following the release of that press release I received a telephone call from Lobdell, asking me to send him a copy of Staveley’s letter. It seems they didn’t have a copy.”
Read the complete post here.