We pointed out some of the remedies the Kroll report recommended for righting the city’s fiscal ship and then noted that the audit committee consultants said the city lacked the political will needed to implement reforms on its own.

But Kroll also recognized that city has taken a few steps toward financial recovery on the advice of past consultants. Since discovering problems with its past handling of finances, the city has:

  • Created a disclosure practices working group at the urging of law firm Vinson & Elkins to “ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws and to promote high standards of accuracy in disclosures.” The panel is composed of officials representing the city attorney, city treasurer, city auditor & comptroller and financial management office. The working group is responsible for designing and implementing internal controls and then teaching them to city staff.
  • Designated a deputy city attorney to deal solely with finance and disclosure while relying on only one firm to serve as the city’s outside disclosure counsel. The City Council approved these last year at Vinson & Elkins’ recommendation.
  • Shortened the timetable for paying off its pension deficit from 30 years to 15 years and changed the retirement board’s composition so that pensioners no longer hold a majority on the panel. The city’s voters approved these changes, which the Pension Reform Committee suggested. The timetable reform measure takes effect in fiscal year 2008.
  • Installed an employee hotline and instituted biannual ethics training for managers and elected officials at the behest of the Auditor & Comptroller’s Office.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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