Los Angeles County communities that have endured scandal have one point in common: in each case, elected officials mistakenly believed that the LA Times and other regional media were not paying attention. The City Council is at this point. The LA Times and Pasadena Star-News now possess the elaborately detailed reporting performed by the South Pasadenan.
Our drama hit technical bottom last week when a Finance Commissioner inquired if the Finance Department has reconciled its cash against its accounting records. The very question implies incompetence and wrongdoing. The City Treasurer did not respond.
There is little doubt that Ms. DeWolfe’s $80,000 ‘”line in the sand” is intended to stimulate new dramas and tilt the vote toward adoption of budget that has been proven to be a product of professional incompetence.
Without knowing it, however, Ms. DeWolfe is moving in the right direction. But $80,000 will not be enough. If I were CFO of South Pasadena, I would recommend the appropriation of $150,000 to contract with a highly-regarded firm and solve all accounting problems at root levels within an estimated 6 months.
I would, at the same time, petition an insurance provider like C-SAC to bring field representative to the City and conduct a “risk assessment” review of all financial operations. Such investigation, conducted by a provider independent of the City Manager, can end the abusive “blame game” that characterizes this administration and allow the City to rebuild its integrity before the November utility users’ tax vote.
– Josh Betta, public comment for City Council meeting, June 24, 2020
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