Oxnard Treasurer wants prior council review of accounts payable disbursements

George Miller

So, here is a list   GM348U GMCHECKS 2017-02-16 FNMACR (1)        GM348U GMCHECKS 2017-02-16 FNMACR (1) of Oxnard’s near-term accounts payable “warrants” (as opposed to checks. Do you know the difference*?).  So, why is this even “news” today?

Well, for one thing, the City’s tight financial situation means that these are being watched more closely than they were in the past. Councilman Bert Perello thinks warrants should be reviewed at each Council meeting. So does Treasurer Phil Molina. He also says that the Council actually has a legal responsibility to do so, unless these are covered by the CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) and there is a clean audit, which is definitely not the case in Oxnard). But not Mayor Flynn, who makes a case that it is “micromanagement,”  that it shows a lack of trust in City staff and shifts attention away from policy-making, which he believes is the Council’s main mission. Not so either for the City Attorney, who we are told by Molina, believes that there are confidentiality issues and opines that state law doesn’t mandate a clean CAFR.

So these are the two competing  cases on the matter.  I’m sure there are far more details- and the devil is in the details. We’re not lawyers or financial experts, so we’ll let them fight it out and hope that the best interests of the people are ultimately served.

 

We asked Mr. Molina to substantiate his position and he sent the following:

George,
 
In short GC (government code) 37202 sets the stage for the council (city’s legislative body) to approve or reject the warrants. But if and when the City’s financial reports have earned the title of an “Annual Comprehensive Financial Report” (cafr) the city can  submit the CAFR once a year and replaces the need for the council to receive and ‘approve or reject’ the warrant registers (both payroll and all other warrants) at each council meeting
 
But a CAFR means that the annual financial reports have a clean  or unqualified audit in all respects plus has earned the title of a CAFR once the Government Finance Officers’ Association has issued its ‘Award of Excellence’ on the financial audit and other specifically required  information.
 
Oxnard lost the right to earn the Award of Excellence because it does not receive an unqualified audit (the best audit opinion) on all its financial statements.
 
Yet Oxnard staff claims that even though their audit is not an unqualified audit (good audit opinion) since the add the other statistical information to the audited reports, they have issued a “CAFR” so they do not need to send the warrants to the Council for public and council approval each meeting.
 
Think of this: If a City receives a good audit opinion on their financial statements but does not pay to prepare the other statistical and management information they need to submit their warrants at each council meeting.  But Oxnard with a bad audit opinion just adds a bunch of pages to their financial statements claiming by doing so they earned the right to call the report a “cafr” they claim they are exempt from council’s review of the warrants. I disagree with this illogical conclusion on the part of city staff.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Phillip Molina
 
37202

Except as provided in Section 37208, the legislative body shall approve or reject demands only after such demands have been audited in the manner prescribed by ordinance or resolution. Such audited demands may be submitted separately or a register of audited demands may be submitted to the legislative body for approval or rejection and shall have attached thereto the affidavit of the officer submitting the demands certifying as to the accuracy of the demands and the availability of funds for payment thereof.

(Amended by Stats. 1970, Ch. 261.)

 

We’ll run an opinion here from the City Attorney’s office if we hear from them.

 

  • Article coming out soon which will address this, among other things

2 Responses to Oxnard Treasurer wants prior council review of accounts payable disbursements

  1. Tom February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Excellence ain’t what it used to be.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard, California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June
    30, 2004.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June
    30, 2005.

    The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada(GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006.

    The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada(GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007.

    The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada(GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.

    Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Presented to City of Oxnard California for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

    Reply
  2. Eileen M Tracy February 17, 2017 at 7:03 am

    I’m not surprised that Mayor Flynn is not interested in reviewing these disbursements. After all, he is 1 of 3 council members who let Karen Burnham neglect required maintenance on Wastewater plant, causing the current excessive rise in wastewater rates. He deserves a recall election. So IRRESPONSIBLE!

    Reply

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