Common Sense / Opinion
A continuing series
Important Questions Not Asked, Answers Needed Re Uncollected Parking Ticket Revenue
(April 6, 2012) -- As previewed by this writer, on April 3 City Council Auditor Laura Doud presented the City Council with the results of her audit on the city’s Parking Citations Collection Process -- and what a show it was. [LBReport.com extended video coverage with access to the audit report click here.]
A few of the Council members -- namely DeLong (Chair of the Council's Budget Oversight Committee), Garcia and O’Donnell -- appeared surprised to learn of the audit’s findings. They exhibited appropriate concern and sought quick action suitable for anyone running for office or reelection but asked few, if any, substantive questions.
Most Councilmembers lauded Auditor Doud for her work, complimented staff and urged staff to find a new system. Let me acknowledge early that the City surly needs improved technology but they also need to ensure the department is properly managed before they can properly implement new technology or consider outsourcing.
I could not help but ask where in the world have some on this Council been over the past few years? Most of them have had five years, or more, in office to ensure that our cities scarce resources were properly managed. Given the city’s present fiscal condition by any objective standard our overall fiscal condition has showed scant improvement.
Over the past few years any of them could have asked the City Manager for information on revenue or-- pardon me for suggesting this-- they COULD HAVE LOOKED AT THE BUDGETS just as I did. If they had performed a modicum of due diligence to ensure they could make an informed decision, here is what they would have found and could have asked city management and the Auditor at the Council meeting...which they didn’t do.
Folks, the bottom line of all this is Long Beach City Hall has a problem that goes far beyond this issue of parking fine revenue.
Long Beach residents should be very concerned about the low level of oversight exhibited by most of our elected officials. The issue goes far beyond uncollected Parking Citation Revenue; it goes to the very heart of how this City is managed and what the Mayor and Council want to do to "fix" our problem
How many departments in the City exhibit the same problems exhibited by parking fine collections? Is this sixth largest revenue source and management debacle an isolated case or is it pervasive throughout the city? Sadly, Council member Schipske was the only one that asked probing questions and suggested that everyone needs to do a better job before looking for more.
We need to know the answer to this before we allow the Mayor and Council to outsource any departments or try to burden taxpayers with any new taxes.
Fix your house first before to ask for more.
Previously on LBReport.com: Common Sense by Terry Jensen (continuing series):
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