Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Limits of Trust

The City Manager has been unable to find a firm to do a forensic accounting of the checks he and the vice mayor signed illegally for less than $30,000. What the heck is he even doing being in charge of finding a firm to investigate him? Why has he not turned this over to the city attorneys or the city clerk to get the proper audit done?

This brings up so many questions but first let's review what happened.

According to the city manager, the charter specifies that the mayor or vice mayor can sign checks and wire transfers. So sometimes he'd ask one and sometimes the other.

But that's not true. A simple word "respectively" follows and "respectively" means "first one, then the other." So if the mayor can't or won't sign, then the vice mayor is able to. Not "whoever", first one then the other.

Now this is a big deal. If the mistake was an honest one, it shows a level of incompetency that leads one to wonder what else is going wrong. If it was deliberate then it was a legal and ethical violation of major proportions.

We have to be able to trust our city manager. And trust is earned. It is not about "gotcha" mistakes, but about what the person does when a mistake is made.

It's wrong that the city manager is the one charged with finding an auditor to analyze his own mistakes. It's wrong that the vice mayor has not recused herself from the vote. It's wrong what they did.

The illegal signings happened and the only issue is whether it's forgivable or grounds for dismissal. The only way to know that is to have a truly independent audit and explanation of the illegally signed checks and a plan to go forward.

That the city manager has not yet provided one is a huge warning not to trust him. Let's not be fooled.

Kevin Vericker
May 7, 2011

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