Calexico Vows To Ensure Timely Financial Audits

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council will take measures to ensure that financial audits are turned in on time in order to avoid another loss of money from the State of California.

This after a $1.69 million Community Development Block Grant was rejected since the City of Calexico failed to submit the 2010-11 audits by March 31, 2011 which made the City ineligible to compete in the 2012 CDBG round. The money would have been used to improve the fire station and small businesses.

A memo from Calexico City Manager Oscar Rodriquez was on Tuesday’s council’s agenda where he explained who will the City prevent this from happening. The Council, however, had a lot to say about this last Tuesday.

Councilman Bill Hodge apologize to the public for the loss of this funding and said that even if the blame lands on the feet of the City Manager is also the responsibility of the Council for not being on top of it. Hodge requested that from now, the council is given timelines or deadline information on grants or funding request so they can be on top of thing from now on. He again apologized for the situation.

Councilman John Moreno agreed with Hodge’s request for timelines and wanted to hear more from the City Manager on how they will avoid this in the future.

Councilman Luis Castro spoke about how the City has lost other funding in the past because of negligence by administration. Castro said that he was very disappointed in the outcome of this and said that this is happening because the negligence of every department head.

Mayor Pro Tem Maritza Hurtado said that as a business person she needs to look for solutions when something like this happens. She asked the rest of the Council to work together and find solutions to avoid this in the future.

Mayor Daniel Romero said that this was only and informational item and said he will not allow the blame put on former finance director Judith Hashem and said that playing the blame game would not solve anything.

City Manager Oscar Rodriquez explained the new procedures will be that all management team members, through their respective Department Heads, to provide significant dates where reports, documentation or information must be provided to certain levels of government. Rodriquez said they must also identify who is responsible for proper submittal.

“We must remember that it is the responsibility of the Department Head to set priorities within their departments to satisfy these requirements. This procedure will assist them in meeting these requirements.” Rodriquez said.

Rodriquez added the auditors and staff is currently performing their final reviews before transmitting said audit to the State of California and all interested parties. This transmittal should occur within the next 7 to 10 days.

In related news, the City Council approved the hiring of John T. Quinn for the position of Finance Director. Former director Judy Hashem retired from her position two months ago. Quinn will be an at-will employee and will be making $108,000 a year.