Oxnard Treasury, Finance fight over turf: Internal Controls responsibility

By George Miller

Oxnard Treasurer Phil Molina has fought a year-long battle, mostly with CFO Jim Throop, over whether Treasury will be allowed to implement some principal campaign promises Molina made concerning verification and approval of expenditures. Throop and his boss, Asst. City Mgr. Jesus Nava, have seemingly moved heaven and earth to prevent Molina from implementing these promises. Throop even went to the external auditor Eadie + Payne for an opinion on this. The opinion (see staff report link below) was that the Treasury procedures are “redundant”, since Finance is now already doing it. Both sets of procedures were in response to terrible audit findings on major weaknesses in city internal controls. Molina maintains that Treasury involvement is needed for checks and balances, pointing to disastrous years of city history for what happened when that wasn’t done. We suppose that it is better that departments are fighting over the right to do something that was seemingly not done at all before,

Now, after months of backroom maneuvering, private and public bickering, including unagendized city council discussions, this item is finally on the City Council agenda tonight.

See the relevant 10-10-17 agenda item: 

C1 Staff Report

Meeting agenda: 



Oxnard activist accountant challenges city management, auditor, CFO, on financial controls

Oxnard activist accountant challenges city management, auditor, CFO, on financial controls

By Lawrence Paul Stein- Mr. Assistant City Manager Nava: .I am a degreed accountant with over 25 years of experience, but not a CPA. I am also a former candidate for Oxnard City Treasurer who lost the 2016 election by 400 votes (of over 40,000 votes cast) to a more qualified candidate. One of […]

October 8, 2017

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

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One Response to Oxnard Treasury, Finance fight over turf: Internal Controls responsibility

  1. Lawrence Paul Stein October 11, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Received from Larry Stein the morning after the Council meeting:

    The mayor seemed critical of the role of the City Treasurer acting as an auditor at the 10 10 2017 City Council Meeting. One of the key roles of an auditor is to verify internal controls via testing using sampling techniques. One of the key roles to the City Treasurer is to verify that the documents that justify an expenditure are in order. The City Treasurer is not auditing the transactions, which implies sampling, but is responsible that every transaction, every expenditure, is proper.

    An auditor’s job is not to safeguard the assets of an organization, but to verify that proper procedures are in place to assure that the assets are safeguarded. The City Treasurer is responsible for the safeguarding of assets. The CFO is responsible for the safeguarding of assets. The City Manager is responsible for the safeguarding of the City Assets. The City Attorney is not responsible for the safeguarding of the city’s assets.

    The full job description for the City Treasurer as approved by city council years ago, was removed from the city’s web site and has not been restored. Many of the responsibilities of the elected City Treasurer were not performed by the two previously elected officials The current elected City Treasurer is attempting to perform his job, but seems to be held back by the Mayor, City Manager, the CFO and the City Attorney.

    Some of the duties, listed in the posted job description includes providing a written report accounting for all receipts, disbursements, and fund balances every month. If this had been done by the previous two elected treasurers, perhaps the city would have been in a better financial position. The previous two elected treasurer’s did not have the training nor experience to perform many of the tasks assigned to the office but deferred their responsibilities to the city’s Finance Department. While the city’s Finance Department prepares and verifies expenditures, it is the city’s Treasurer who is responsible for verifying the work product generated by the Finance Department as it pertains to expenditures; checks and balances, Trust but Verify.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Lawrence Paul Stein

    PS If the City Mayor started his meetings on time and not 10 to 15 minutes late then there would not be a rush to end on time. It seems to me that the Mayor is more concerned about ending a meeting on time, than about the substance of the meeting. Staff needs to stop reading off of power point presentations. Staff’s consultants need to be held to the same standards as the public in both time allocations and document presentations.


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