Op-Ed | ‘Important Moment in the City’s 132-Year Financial History’

'RAMS should assert clear intentions to take institutional control in South Pasadena according the highest and most confident expressions of industry standards'

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe

By Josh Betta

Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott, LLP, Certified Public Accountants (or, RAMS) will make public statements at the City Council meeting of August 19, 2020. RAMS’ will do so cognizant of the requirements and obligations of its limited liability partnership operating under the laws and authority of the State of California; the research, documentation and auditing standards of the governmental auditing profession; the terms and conditions of its liability and errors-and-omissions insurance coverage; and in receipt and understanding of all media coverage since the first week of June 2020 regarding the “utter chaos” in the financial functions of the City Council-City Manager form of government.

RAMS will speak to what arguably is the most important moment in the City’s 132-year financial history, in other words.

Recommendation:

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1. RAMS should assert clear intentions to take institutional control in South Pasadena according the highest and most confident expressions of industry standards.

2. The City Council should publicly proclaim the specific form(s) of financial information it will provide to the South Pasadena voter before the voter is asked to consider continuation of the utility users’ tax on November 3, 2020.

The Disturbing Background Facts Established on Record

· The City’s certified independent third-party auditors, RAMS, have not published opinion on the City’s financial position in 2.5 years.

· The City’s City Council – City Manager government has not published its professional opinions on the City’s financial position in 3 years.

· The City’s voters approved an increase in the sales tax on a fragile business community without financial information from the City’s auditors or its City Council-City Manager government.

· The City’s voters approved the elimination of a constitutionally- and politically-independent City Clerk with little, if any, information on the consequences of recording and storing the City’s all of the City’s public documentation within the component duties of an politically-appointed City Manager position.

· The GFOA and CSMFO declared that questions posed in the Betta Report should be responded to by the City. The City Council-City Manager form of government has taken no public action.

· The research findings of Steve and Sheila Rossi proved that the City Manager presented two separate budgets – differing by $14 million – to the City Council and Finance Commission. The City Council-City Manager form of government has taken no public action.

· The City Council, on the recommendation of the City Attorney, released the “confidential” Citygate consultant report proving the City hid financial problems from public view for 22 months. The practical benefit to the City remains a mystery to the public, because the SouthPasadenan determined that only 1 of 37 report recommendations was completed.

· The City Attorney has declared that release of the Citygate report was an act of the City Council that created “significant exposure to litigation against the City, and such facts and circumstances are not yet known to the potential plaintiff.”

· The City Treasurer is silent in response to the Finance Commission’s searing inquiries about reconciliation of the City’s cash with accounting records.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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