We’ve all heard the words “follow the money” as if said process will magically unveil itself to us. Certain insight and skills are necessary when confronted by a doozy like this one:
ICSC is the International Council of Shopping Centers who held their Global Retail Real Estate Convention May 22-25, 2016 in Las Vegas, which, ironically, cost $570 to attend, the same amount of the first transaction (above).
As if taxis, bagels, and Starbucks charged to the City procurement card wasn’t enough, two days of room service at the Hard Rock Hotel made the trip all worthwhile:
Just because there’s enough material in the City’s records to write blog posts like these……for another 57 years, that’s not the point.
Why should you care? Simple Answer: Because almost nobody else cares. Joe Felz does not care. On the City Council, Fitzgerald, Flory, and Chaffee do not care either — earlier this year, they voted no on the formation of an Audit Committee.
We all come from different backgrounds with different skill sets, and some of us probably despise working with numbers. I get that. But, somehow, some way, Fullerton residents need to collectively step up and be watchdogs of the City finances. When City staff fails us, and the City Council majority fails us again, we have no other choice.
The reason the illegal water tax was alive and well, unabated, for so many years is because nobody took up the same kinds of things I’m advocating for right now until the damage was done. Fast forward a few years later to right now — the City wants to initiate paid parking in Downtown Fullerton because wasteful spending such as this is now mainstream. They need extra cash to hire more police officers, yet they have no desire to ever change their ways under Joe Felz’ so-called ‘management’ of the City.
That having been said, I would like to offer some guidance to those even marginally intrigued by this suggestion. I would suggest becoming familiar with the City’s account number structure because it will come up over and over again.
Note: Until someone develops an online tool to decode the account numbers automatically — hint, hint to any database or SQL gurus out there — you will have to look up the various parts, manually: City Accounts (Excel spreadsheet)
On Nicole Bernard’s shopping cart expedition to Las Vegas, the logs to coincide with the credit card statements shown above provide additional information in the form of account numbers and a brief description of the purchase (below). 10111 is the ORGKEY: 10 = General Fund and 111 = City Council. The OBJECT ID is 6212 which stands for Meetings, Conferences, & Training. Why was Nicole’s conference fees, hotel, and airfare put down as a **City Council** expense?
The remainder of Nicole’s trip to Vegas was allocated to 10121. Still the General Fund (10), but 121 = City Manager. In addition to being Joe Felz’ assistant, Nicole is also Economic Development Manager, and they created 10352 specifically for that purpose, Economic Development. Wouldn’t that be a more appropriate place to assign these costs?
So there’s actually multiple problems:
- The necessity of going to Las Vegas in the first place.
- Excessive spending while in Las Vegas.
- Sloppy accounting by assigning costs where they don’t belong, perhaps intentionally?
Joe Felz is her direct supervisor, and he obviously had no problem with any of this. He allowed her to go on the City’s dime. He didn’t object to her purchases. And he approved, or should have been the one to approve, her procurement card reporting.
All business as usual at Fullerton City Hall.