Oxnard Council Narrowly Approves Consultant Millican Interim CFO Appointment

By George Miller

Oxnard Interim CFO Dave Millican (Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us)

Oxnard is NOT a “leper colony” where no one will come to work.- Councilman Bert Perello

The Council had a surprisingly contentious 9-11-18 session on the contested appointment of consultant Dave Millican as interim CFO. The city has been through quite a few CFO’s in the last few years. Millican was a high-powered financial consultant brought in via Management Partners by former City Manager Greg Nyhoff. Millican was well-regarded, but his tenure occurred during a tumultuous period when the financial department was out of control and its numbers  were very suspect. Anyone there was smeared by it. See item J-1 below.

Other business:

Some members of the public are concerned that voters are confused on how the new district voting works, even though the city has already conducted 6 public education meetings, plus discussed/debated it at at least three city council meetings.

A report was presented on the City’s legislative agenda. The City approved a $4 million contract for organic waste processing and for fuel and parts. 

Less visible and debated, on the “Consent Agenda” were millions in contracts approved almost by default for landscaping, irrigation repairs and engineering services

 

Council Meeting- AGENDA
View Event

 

The Ventura County Viet Nam Vets group thanked City Corps members for their work in setting up and tearing down the Viet Nam “moving wall” exhibition at the County Govt. Center in June. See previous article with names: Viet Nam Moving Wall Display Workers Thanked.

Viet Nam Vets of VC thank City Corps workers for assembling disassembling Viet Nam “Moving Wall.”

The Council thanked AD44 Member Jacqui Irwin for her role in helping to obtain the $9.5MM grant for Wastewater Plant improvements.

They also Presentated a Proclamation Designating September 15, 2018 as “Coastal Cleanup Day in the City of Oxnard.”

 

D. Public Comments on items not on the agenda:

Lauraine Effress- Looking forward to a much less tumultuous year and election. Concerned about districts- public education on this is very imporatnt. Wants City Clerk to further educate voters on this.

Dr. Irene Pinkard- (former City Council mmeber and mayor Pro Tem)- Here to protest “release” of Economic Development Director Kimberly Horner.  Says she knew her craft and could provide answers when others could not. Doesn’t think new City Manager knew enough to “release” her.  Pinkard says he never even talked to her. She feels/says she KNOWS, that people told City Mgr. Nguyen things about her that weren’t true.

Carolyn Mullin- PACC Events Coordinator, celebrating PACC 5oth anniversay, featuring the “straws” movie about the huge threat of straws and other one-time use plastics.

Allan Durham- Applauds efforts of City Clerk in last election. Concerned about voter confusion on new district voting.

Woody Thomas- Wants Council to agendize his desired case settlement on his alleged injuries by police.

Margarate Cortese- Applauds eforts of City Clerk in last election.Concerned about voter confusion about new district voting. Wants more education.

Kate Acosta- Same as above.

Jackie Tedeshi- On Sept. 5, AD44 Rep Jacqui Irwiin was guest speaker, received certificate of appreciation for her efforts in helping to obtain a substantuial $9.5MM grant for wastewater improvements. INCO (Inter-Neighborhood Council) will have candidate forum this month.

Martin Jones- You (Council) have the opportunity to explain utility rate increases. He once again attacked Aaron Star, claiming he wants no government. Says interest rates would have gone up if rates weren’t increased. It would be a bad day if Araon Starr was elected to any Oxnartd office. He said “the Tea Party” threw Starr out because he attempted to bribe them to change their bylaws. Says Starr misled people as to when fee would go into effect.

Pat Brown- Need to minimize truck/car idling.

Jack Villa- Chair Hobson Park East Neighborhood- Succesful meeting this month- 115 residents (stellar for a NC meeting)!  Thanks to MacDonald, Ramirez, Perello, Asst. City Mgr.Nava, Carl Lawson (retiring Housing Director), OPD, Oxnard School District asst Chief Benitez for atttending. Exploding vagrant population a BIG issue here.

Gerard Kapuscik- VC Watershed Protection Div.- Ensures levees are meeting federal certification standards. Applied for another $5MM grant to get construction started as soon as next summer- an $11 million construction project to protect against $300MM potential flood damage.  Asst City Mgrs. Ashley Golden and Jesus Nava were both key in negotiations.  See VCLEVEES.com. 805- 648-9284. The mayor stopped further questions for fear it would violate Brown Act. He was recently cited by the District Attorney for just that and seeks to avoid a recurrence.

Larry Barbieri- Supports war on Islamic terror- thanks. Happy New Year to Jewish friends, happy Patriot Day. Supports Prop 6 gas tax repeal- it’s regressive, money was misappropriated.

Richard Kristoferson- Animal control not picking up deceased animals, sometimes for a month. We were told by an attendee that he brought a foul-smelling dead animal to the meeting.

Daniel Chavez, Jr.- 911 brought people together, but there is much divisiveness now. He feels that the six district voting meetings adequately addressed the issue publicly. It was adequately publicized, but poorly attended. Several City employees left- Dev. Director and Traffic Engineer left abruptly.City Mgr. shoulfd get “feet wet” first before terminating people.

 

E. REPORT OF CITY MANAGER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/SECRETARY 

Nothing, but see next item below …

F-1  SUBJECT: City of Oxnard 2018 Legislative Update Report. (10/10/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council: 1) Receive and file the report; and 2) Provide direction regarding Legislative Program amendments for subsequent Council consideration.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Jesus Nava Phone: (805) 385-7497

Consultant Elizabeth Paniagua did year-end review of legislative program. Seeking funding. Successes in communication sector. Can easily relay city’s concerns to state and federal partners. Almost weekly phone and email communication of concerns and fed/state action.  Multiple major projects (below) for funding and support. It’s mostly about coaxing money from state/fed sources. Met with state and federal reps this summer.
If you read the link contents above, you’ll see that the state/federal level program for the coming year is very vague, only listing some topics without revealing the direction or specifics of desired legislation.
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Council/Staff Comments
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Carmen Ramirez brought up Prop 6.Said Prop 6 would put an end to the Rice Ave. Interchange.  City Atty says City can take a position on such issues but cannot mount a campaign. The question is: do all of the Council attacks on Prop 6 constitute a “camapign?” May bring up League of CA City positions.
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Bert Perello- Thanks to Supv. Zaragoza for help with City Corps.
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Oscar Madrigal- Remembers 911 heroes, victims. Noted Tuberculosis scare (multiple VC cases detected)- urged testing. Oxnard can do better. Run for office. Instill policy. Tale of Two Cities are North and South Oxnard. 5th Street is dividing line. Parking issues. Recycling and cleaning streets is an issue. A girl asked why there are so few female firefighters.  Difficult profession for women to get into.
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Carmen Ramirez- We weren’t really on “vacation”- most were working through the summer. Complimented Jacqui Irwin, Hananh-Beth Jackson, Monique Limon.  Many city issues. Homelessness especially. Tremendous housing crisis and lack of services- behavioral health, drug abuse services.  Hsg. Director Arturo Casillas retiring.  Many decisions (such as these) are made by City Mgr., not Council. Council can only hire/fire City Manager and City Atty. Police doing great job with gun confiscation. She omitted fact that these were illegally held. Gave us the vibe that guns in general are bad. Wants input on gang injunctions.  Pushed PACC “Straws” presentation. Says if you care about the ocean you should care about this. She is invited to this week’s “Climate Action Summit.” Wants to eliminate war. This is the longest war we have been in.
Bryan MacDonald- Worked during August. We all continued working (not true). Remembers 911. Sees division in our country, No worse than 1960’s. We will survive this too. Thanks to 911 responders. Leaugue of Cities conference this week- MacDonald is a representtaive.
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Perello- Agree with previous coments from MacDonald. remember 911 but also Pearl harbor. If there was a military draft, things would be different. Running for District 1 Council seat. Concerned about Channel Islands Harbor water quality. Tx to Zaragoza for his help.  Reached out to other legislators- NO response. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Monque Limon have NOT responded. He sounded pissed. Need to work with County and State for best results here. If Seabridge initiative passes, it will be harder to address problems. It’s not about  just the “rich guys” who live in Harbor. This affects all of Oxnard. Complimented Atty Klima for “Red Team” work to seek grants: Councilman Perello’s Statement Announcing the Results of the Red Team’s Work in Applying for Federal HMGP Grant Funding (9-11-18)
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Mayor Tim Flynn-  The Mayor incorrectly stated that the Mandalay power plant pumps only ran 12 times per year and that excessive heat led to water problems.He was evidenly unawatre that harbor weather was fairly cool in May and June when the problems began.  Need to catch up on tree maintaenace- potentially hazardous situations.
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I. INFORMATION CONSENT AGENDA

(see agenda for detail onm items)

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No items pulled for questions, passed unanimously 5-0.  Perello recused himself from Landscape #13 vote (item 5). Item 2 pulled from agenda

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Public comment

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Pat Brown- PACC activity up.  Was underutilized or under-revenued. Need well-know entertainers.

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Larry Stein-  (City Council candidate)- Meeting minutes and documemts submitted are not appended to the minutes. Questions from June remain unanswered. He was told at candidates’ meeting that his questions would not be anwered until he is elected. Statements by staff, including commitments, are not added to the minutes.  His questions are not being answerd. Mayor Flynn said there are ongoing meetings with Stein.

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Jackie Tedeschi- Pleased that Garcia was awarded landscaping contract.

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J-1  SUBJECT: Appointment of Interim Chief Financial Officer. (5/5/5) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council adopt a resolution temporarily appointing David N. Millican to serve as Interim Chief Financial Officer effective September 12, 2018 for a temporary period until a new Chief Financial Officer is appointed.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Jesus Nava Phone: (805) 385-7497

Document: J-1 Staff Report
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Per Asst. City Manager Jesus Nava- Ex CALPERS empoloyee, former consultant and former CFO was appointed interim CFO at $96/hr with no benefits. Nava hopes to have new CFO before year-end.
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What was apparently expected to be a slam dunk turned into a contentious discussion by City Council and the public. Millican was approved by a one vote margin. There didn’t appear to be any short-term alternatives, although recruiiting is underway for a permanent replacement. Frankly, with the high turnover, plentiful problems and negative publicity, the recruitment may be a tough job. What is really needed now is a crisis/turnaround manager. Members of the public complained about bad financial numbers durung the Millican era, although the problems causing that predated him. He made progress on improvements, but Finance was still not out of the woods when he left. Millican played multiple roles in Oxnard Finance and was finally appointed CFO, but left almost immediately claiming injuries. Shortly thereafter, he was working elsewhere as a consultant. We saw him in action on the Finance Tsk Force. What he said and did made sense.
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These would be Millican’s objectives (financial portions in paragraphs below):
This agenda item supports the Organizational Effectiveness strategy. The purpose of the
Organizational Effectiveness strategy is to strengthen and stabilize the organizational foundation
of the City in the areas of Finance, Information Technology, and Human Resources, and to
improve workforce quality while increasing transparency to the public. This item supports the
following goals and objectives:
Goal 1. To help foster a healthy and accountable corporate foundation by strengthening
the support functions of the organization, which include Finance, Information Technology and
Human Resources.
Objective 1a. Ensure the 128 recommendations outlined in the organizational assessment
are implemented through the 3 phased implementation action plans adopted by Council in July,
2015 and provide periodic reports to Council on the status of the implementation plans.
Objective 1b. Establish an Internal Audit Program to complete performance audits of
identified programs to ensure compliance with state and federal law and that Council policy is
adhered to.
Objective 1c. Develop written procedures to address Internal Control recommendations
from Auditor.
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Public Comments
Pat Brown- Have foumd Millican to be very informative, cool-headed, does a heck of a good job, getting someone who really knows their stuff and isn’t dilly-dallying around.
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Aaron Starr- Welcome back- provided 2 page handout on bad fiunncail forecasts on wastewater finnaces: 2016_04_26 Council Agenda Item L-1 – FYE 16 Utility Revenue Projections. “Time stamps” helping to prove Starr’s points: Time Stamps from video of 2016_04_26 council meeting
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Starr stated that Millican made a presentation about the state of utilities, saying there would only be $23MM in revenues.  Starr said that was impossible. He was right. The CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Finnacial Report), when it was finanly completed, said $30+MM. We don’t get financial figures on aregular basis. Don’t get monthly (detailed ) financial statements. Thousand Oaks does it with the same software.  The significance of what Starr is saying is that the City made assertions about the health of the wastewater budget and need for rate increases based on very flawed data.
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Starr initiated the sucessful rate rollback voter initiative and the unsucessful recall of Council members who initially supported the rate increases. After a proytracted legal fight, he prevailed on nearly all the legal issues, but lost in two bids to getr on the Council. Starr is again running for Mayor.
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Daniel Chavez, Jr.- When Mr. Millican was CFO, financial numbers were always changing week by week. He believes Millican is great, has nothing personal against him. Wants City Council to defer this vote or vote no and instead groom existing employees, develop organizational depth.
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Council comments-
Ramirez- We don’t have anyone willing or able to step up. Need consultant/Millican to assist us for a temporray period. It’s hard tro find peopole who want to work in thsi atmospehe for these salaries. We must have capable/willing person in this job. She supports him
Bryan MacDonald- Says we DO get monthly financial statements. Disagrees with Starr. It may not be what people think we need. I’m happy with it. Don’t support appointing Millican. (Starr has previously claimd that we don’t get detailed financial statements.)
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Perello- You (Millican) come highly recommnded. Do NOT support appointment. Management Partners brought you in. We were short of money. Impression was given that we were in worse situation than turned out. Money wass clawed back from unions/employyes. City Mgr. Nyhoff “bailed out” on us (quit). Still have problems.  (New City Mgr.) Nguyen said I obviously don’t trust anyone in Oxnard. Figures are different every month. He says Nguyen now agrees with him (Nguyen not at meeting).  Oxnard is NOT a “leper colony” where no one will come to work. Get with HR to see what they are doing.
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Mayor Tim Flynn- We are trying to undo decades of financial mismanagement. (Flynn has been in charge for a decade.)  Highly political decisons had to be made. Former City Mgr. Nyhoff had to take a bullet for this. We have a “capacity problem.” He is confident that Nguyen will hire a good CFO. Only have a “skeleton” financial dept. Supports Millican appointment. Hinted that opposition was “political” then said it wasn’t.
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Vote: Motion carried 3-2. Opposed: MacDonald, Perello. 
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J-2  SUBJECT: Award Agreement to California Wood Recycling, Inc. D.B.A. Agromin Horticultural Products for Organic Waste Recycling Services (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council approve and authorize the Mayor to execute a three-year agreement with California Wood Recycling, Inc. d.b.a. Agromin Horticultural Products for up to $4,000,000 to provide organic waste recycling services.

Legislative Body: CC Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione Phone: (805) 385-8055

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Document: J-2 Staff Report
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Environmental Resource Manager Todd Housely pitched a 3 yr $4MM contract, describing it as a “living wage” contract.
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MacDonald said material may only go to Limoneria in Santa Paula, not local/Arnold Road. Doesn’t want to see activity on Arnold Road
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Perello- agrees with MacDonald.  Want Public Works Director to ensure that there is not food waste processing work on beach permits being sought. Concerned that there was only one bid.
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Housley- NO material is going to Ormond Beach. We keep tabs on sole source vendor to make sure thingfs are handled right.
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Asst City Mgr Ashley Golden- Agromin permit is in process with the County. EIR draft to go out Nov-Dec for 45 days review. No food waste would be allowed to go to Ormond Beach. Agromin is processing on Mountain View.  Most of Agromin faciulity is in County- a small part is in the city.
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Ramirez- want future updates on the permit process. Want entire operation off Ormond Beach.
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Approved
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J-3 SUBJECT: Budget Appropriation Adjustment for Fuel and Parts in FY 2017/18 (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve a budget appropriation of $260,000 from General Fund Reserves to Fleet Services FY 2017-18 Operating Supplies Accounts for Shell fuel and NAPA parts/tires invoices

Legislative Body: CC Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione Phone: (805) 385-8055
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Document: J-3 Staff Report
Document: J-3 Presentation
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Approved with little debate/comment

George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard. 


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