By Randy Kugler
At the August City Council meeting, Mayor Scott referenced a letter from the City Auditor that implied that there were no problems found with the 50% overhead allocation from the Water Fund to pay the City Manager and Assistant City Manager. “They have no concerns on the allocation of cost or the methodology that was used”.
This is the right answer to the wrong question.
The Auditor’s role in conducting an audit is to insure that actual disbursements of City monies are made in accordance with the adopted Budget. The Auditor is saying that she pulled the payroll records for the positions in question and confirmed that those positions received 50% of their funding from the General Fund and 50% from the Water Fund in accordance with the Budget adopted by the City Council so therefore she had no concerns. Had the Auditor found that too much money (the allocation) had been paid to the positions in question or 75% of the salary (the methodology) came from the Water Fund, she would have noted a concern in her Audit notes.
On August 5th I submitted 4 questions to the City Manager that would clarify the role of the Auditor in this matter. These questions were then submitted by the City to the Auditor. To date, no one can answer even one of these questions of how many days the Auditor spends each year at City Hall while conducting the annual Audit.
The Auditor may spend 2 days in Manzanita each year for the Audit and has no ability to observe or develop any independent opinion on how any City employee spends their time each day. For the Mayor to imply that the Auditor is confirming that the City Manager and Assistant City Manager are indeed spending 50% of their time in water utility activities is misleading at best. The Auditor in her letter states that she “inquired about the methodology used to allocate costs” thus confirming that she is not relying on any conclusions that she observed and came to independently in this matter.
No one can answer the question as to whom this inquiry was made and what this “methodology” was that was used to allocate these overhead costs.
City Manager Jerry Taylor has previously explained that the need to increase the overhead allocation for his salary to 50% was due to his time spent in developing the water system, presumably a reference to the new water treatment plant. That project was completed 15 years ago, the 50% has never been reduced to the level the City Manager was receiving prior to this project and you have now added an Assistant City Manager receiving 50% of their salary from the water fund as if the water treatment project is still under development.
I am asking once again tonight (September 4th) to please explain in terms that a typical citizen can understand why you are taking $92,600 this year from the water fund to pay manager’s salaries today that is so completely at odds with the explanation given for its initial increase.