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Mayor Jerry Sanders wants the City Council to more thoroughly review the city’s annual financial statements when auditors return a draft of the 2003 report back to the city next month.
The council is scheduled to review the 2003 financial statements Oct. 16, before the city submits its final disclosures to audit firm KPMG to certify. The mayor, whose staff is mostly responsible for preparing the reports along with the city attorney, said Thursday that he wants to allow the council an opportunity to weigh in on the disclosure process.
The council currently sees the financial documents, but the mayor wants them to formally approve them.
Sanders said he hoped that the new check on the city’s finances would score points in the marketplace, where the city has been shut out because of its inability to have its financial reports certified.
Sanders held his press announcement at the University Heights Reservoir, which is part of an antiquated Water Department that has not been able to borrow for upgrades to its infrastructure since the public bond markets shut out the city in 2004.
Peters said he applauded the mayor’s attempts to be “more inclusive and transparent,” but said he was also skeptical about assigning responsibility to the council when their level of liability and the amount of information they can expect to be provided is unknown.
“We have to talk about what this proposal is,” said Peters, who said he hoped the mayor’s proposal would come to council soon.
A recent private investigation found that eight former city staffers committed securities fraud in releasing faulty financial information to investors; the report found council members had acted “negligently” in allowing the release of this information.
Sanders said he didn’t think the proposed requirement would make the council more liable, while City Attorney Mike Aguirre vaguely said that the requirement would cause the mayor and council to “share” the responsibility.
The mayor also announced the hiring of accountant John Dyer to oversee the city’s efforts to comply with Kroll’s 121-point plan to remediate the city’s ills. Dyer would help implement the recommendation and serve as the city’s liaison to the proposed monitor.
The remediation plan affords more power and responsibility to the Mayor’s Office, and his chief financial officer, in the city’s financial reporting structure.
(Scroll down three entries for more on Dyer’s role.)