San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 10/09/15 – 8:09 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Residents pleading for completion of two long overdue audits of the city’s finances — one bearing a sign demanding “Bring in the F.B.I. / Complete the audits!” — didn’t get the answer they should have, says Mayor Carey Davis.

But there is an answer, he said: Staff is now reviewing a draft of the audit for Fiscal Year 2012-13, with a public presentation of the audit in November “not unrealistic” and the second audit hoped for relatively soon after that.

That was not the impression at Monday’s City Council meeting, when a scheduled discussion of the audits was tabled without explanation — but not without angry crosstalk, Councilman John Valdivia accusing the majority of “shutting out the public” even as City Attorney Gary Saenz advised Valdivia comments weren’t allowed once a tabling motion was made, and Councilman Fred Shorett walking away from the dais in self-described exasperation.

Several comments by the public since then implied the council had voted not to finish the audits, which was not the vote.

The end result gave the impression the city didn’t take the audits seriously, when it’s among his highest priorities, Davis said.

“The responsibility rests with me,” Davis said. “I take responsibility (for) the need to garner support from the (City) Council and also to have the city function at a higher level. The Finance Department is just one of our departments that had an exodus of personnel in August 2012, after the bankruptcy filing.”

In hindsight, Davis said, he would have used his gavel to end Monday’s argument.

“I have a gavel, but I don’t want to wear it out,” he said.

The audit for the 2012-13 fiscal year — the year that began just before the city’s August 2012 bankruptcy filing — was due more than a year and a half ago, and the 2013-14 audit deadline was March.

That has hurt the city financially — for instance, it’s paying $125,000 a month out of its general fund to keep open the San Bernardino Employment and Training Agency, which lost state funding in October 2014 because of the late audit, although some expect that to be reimbursed after an appeal.

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