Starr Sues Oxnard Once Again!

By George Miller

Government Code section 41004 requires the City of Oxnard to release  monthly financial reports. They haven’t for a long time. They have promised to provide them, but they haven’t done so. Indignant, concerned Citizens, including Aaron Starr and wife Alicia Percell,  have stood up at meetings and written to demand it– but nothing has been forthcoming. They just don’t do it. Oxnand Finance has more recently been providing a greatly abbreviated “summary report” which falls far short of requirements.

The latest excuse is the near meltdown of the Finance Dept. and continual exodus of staff to non-war zone cities of refuge. Deanne Purcell,t he Assistant CFO, who has the unenviable task of cleaning up the department, recited a litany of woes in her report on responding to audit findings, at the 7-10-18 Council meeting, She said that vast improvements have been made, but many remain to be resolved. You can read about it in our council report.

We even heard at Council meetings that the software/system, which previously supported financial reports, can no longer do so without a multi-million dollar upgrade or replacement. No explanation was provided.

So, it may not be a bad thing that local financial executive, civic activist (Moving Oxnard Forward) and four-time Council candidate Aaron Starr is once again suing the City to compel it to do its job in issuing valid, timely, complete monthly financial reports. In truth, it’s difficult to see how the city can run effectively without such tools. If nothing else, the court action may help focus attention on this shocking, unacceptable deficiency.

Starr claims that the City never even responded his May 22, 2018 demand letter, precipitating the court action. He even offered to work with the City to resolve the situation.

It occurred to this writer that if the City can provide summary reports and the information is accurate, then those figure would likely be backed up with transaction detail. So, why is it not made available? I asked Aaron Starr this question. He said it’s a reasonable question, but he could see some cases where it might be done without it. For example, cash starting and ending balances from the bank might be used. But he preferred not to speculate along this line, sticking to just demanding the detailed information,

It may be a coincidence that the lawsuit filing is occurring just before the start of the next election season, when Starr has indicated that he will again run for Mayor.

Read Starr’s latest filing, via his “Moving Oxnard Forward” civic group, by his young attorney Chad Morgan, who prevailed in his last two cases for Starr:

Petition for Writ of Mandate – Without Exhibits

 

Starr has been and is still involved in extensive litigation with the City and even forced an (unsuccessful) recall election, over utility rate increases and again to defend his right to even do so, and over what he says are illegal infrastructure fees levied on City utility funds by the city. He even sued and prevailed, including attorneys fees. over Mayor Tim Flynn, regarding the latter’s false ballot statement claims. Has Starr reached the level of frustration where he feels that the judicial system is the only way he can bring the City to comply with the law?


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


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3 Responses to Starr Sues Oxnard Once Again!

  1. Roy Graboff July 18, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    If the city government of Oxnard is breaking state law, why is Mr. Starr suing the city rather than filing a complaint with the California Attorney General? Wouldn’t this be the faster, more appropriate way to get action?

    Reply
  2. Bruce Boyer July 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    The City is incompetent and corrupt. Go get ’em Aaron!

    Reply
  3. Phil Molina July 14, 2018 at 10:58 am

    From Phil Molina

    George, Mr. Mayor et al:

    I am glad that Mr. Mayor is open to learning new things. So I appreciate the opportunity to provide our Mayor with this information.

    So, first State Law requires the City Treasurer to produce a monthly financial report showing receipts, disbursements and fund balances. (see GC 41004 below). But Oxnard transferred that duty to the CFO. (See Oxnard muni code below)

    California Government Code Section 41004.

    Regularly, at least once each month, the city treasurer shall submit to the city clerk a written report and accounting of all receipts, disbursements, and fund balances. The city treasurer shall file a copy with the legislative body.

    (Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 77, Sec. 4. (SB 742) Effective January 1, 2018.)

    In Government Code 41004 below, “All receipts, disbursements and fund balances” is the terminolgy accountant refer to as the P&L, or Income Statement or in government accounting as the STATEMENT OF REVENUES, EXPENDITURES, AND CHANGES IN FUND BALANCES.

    Oxnard City Municipal Code Section:

    SEC. 2-176. FINANCIAL AND ACCOUNTING DUTIES.

    (C) Pursuant to Cal. Gov’t Code Section 34004, the duties imposed on the city treasurer by Cal. Gov’t Code Section 41004 are transferred to the director of finance.

    The City Treasure’s monthly and quarterly report refers to these laws in the opening paragraph of the report to Council and the Mayor every month.

    Respectfully,
    Phillip Molina
    Private Citizen

    Reply

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