Fullerton’s increasing reliance on grant funding comes with one consistent problem — poor or no accountability across the board. Last week, I wrote about the Police Department’s $3900 mini-freezer and was called out in the comments section as follows:
It was paid for with money from the state from Prop 69 you morons. You can purchase items that are related to dna collection. Google is your friend.
The commenter was likely referring to this notation where Captain Siko wrote “Prop 69 grant.”
Captain Siko, and the person leaving the comment, are both wrong.
They charged the freezer to special subprogram 6188, which is the Justice Assistance Grant 2016. The page below is from the Chart of Accounts posted to the City website.
The Justice Assistance Grant is Federal funding offered to state and local law enforcement for various purposes. JAG awards are not at all related to Prop 69 revenues.
Fullerton’s share of the funding comes via the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who is charged with managing compliance. No lawyer is needed to see that Fullerton has a compliance problem. The full agreement can be found here but I’m going to post a few snippets below.
2. SUBGRANTEE shall be reimbursed with said JAG funds only for expenditures
necessary to acquire personal property or equipment as set forth in Attachment A hereto
[hereinafter called “grant property and equipment”] or to perform such other grant functions, if
any, for which Attachment A specifies that SUBGRANTEE may utilize grant funds.
8. By executing this Agreement, SUBGRANTEE agrees to comply with and be fully
bound by this Agreement and all applicable provisions of Attachments A, B, C, D and E
hereto. SUBGRANTEE shall notify COUNTY immediately upon discovery that it has not
abided or no longer will abide by any applicable provision of this Agreement or Attachments A,
B, C, D or E hereto.
15. COUNTY may terminate this Agreement and be relieved of the payment of any
consideration to SUBGRANTEE if a) SUBGRANTEE fails to perform any of the covenants
contained in this Agreement, including the applicable terms of Attachments A, B, C, D and E
hereto, at the time and in the manner herein provided, or b) COUNTY loses funding under the
grant. In the event of termination, COUNTY may proceed with the work in any manner
deemed proper by COUNTY.
Now would be a good time to review Attachment A:
Nowhere in Attachment A does it specify the purchase of a freezer. They instead wrote the funding will be used for cold case manpower, closing it out with the words, “All monies will be used to pay the $32.87 per hour Personnel cost of the two Consultants/Detectives.”
Given the violation of the grant terms, they risk having the entire $28,234 pulled out from underneath them because they cheated and spent $3,900 on a freezer. Isn’t that lovely?
The fine print on these things matter. And no, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if a $28K grant was revoked. But what would you say if millions of dollars in grants to acquire portions of Coyote Hills suddenly went poof for the same reason? There are far-reaching consequences for failing to read and abide by some rather simple conditions.
I’m positive that if the City were to review every other grant received in recent years, there would be an abundance of mistakes just like this one. Something needs to change.