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City Attorney Mike Aguirre wants the City Council to postpone its planned adoption of the Kroll remediation proposals in order to hold public hearings to deliberate over the best remedies for the city’s financial reporting systems.
The council is set to weigh Kroll’s suggestions Sept. 6 to the delight of Mayor Jerry Sanders, who has endorsed the proposals wholesale and will recommend them to the council as a 121-step plan. Aguirre insists that delaying the city’s decisions will not have an effect on the city’s timetable for returning to the public bond markets.
Aguirre criticized the efforts of Kroll, the editorial board of a local newspaper and Sanders to tout the suggestions as best possible solutions rather than debating the merits of each proposal.
“This is more public relations than substantive thinking,” Aguirre said at an hour-long press conference Tuesday.
Aguirre has put forward a 21-point plan of his own that he wants the council to compare to Sanders’. That plan includes raising revenue – whether it is through new taxes or fees – to attain a 95-percent funding level for the pension system. Currently, the pension plan has about 68.2 percent of the assets it needs to cover the benefits it owes.
Many of the proposals would provide Aguirre an elevated role in the city structure when compared to the Kroll suggestions. Aguirre also said he was “disappointed” that the mayor embraced Kroll’s recommendation that the pension plan should have its own legal advisor and not him.
Here are some of Aguirre’s other proposals:
- The city attorney would perform the monitor function contemplated by Kroll and Sanders. The mayor has request that the city budget $4 million over the next three years to hire a securities expert to serve the role.
- A City Council member, the independent budget analyst and the city auditor should serve as the audit committee. Aguirre said that the Kroll recommendation to include two mayor-appointed private citizens and a council member on the panel will mean that the committee’s majority will be beholden to the mayor.
- The auditor general would be an elected position rather than be appointed by the mayor and council for a 10-year term, vulnerable to termination only be a three-fourths vote of the council or a two-thirds vote of the audit committee.
- The City Council would take mandatory financial management training and to pass a related financial exam. When council members notice problems in the disclosure statements they are asked to approve, they should make these discoveries public, he said.
Upon approving the city’s financial records, either for an annual financial statement or for a bond offering, the council should certify under the penalty of perjury that the information is correct, he said.