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Betty Hill, Capistrano Beach

As an observer of the meetings of the Financial Review Committee, it appears that this supposedly “independent” committee, with a mandate from the City Council to analyze the financial condition of the city, is being directed by Mike Killebrew, the acting city manager, who also happens to be the person responsible for the city’s financial statements and practices under review. Ensuring the Committee’s independence should be paramount since it is crucial to its credibility and the reliability of its findings.

The reports being presented at the meetings, based on the city’s financial statements, show that rising expenses will exceed the city’s expected income unless preventative measures are taken to avoid a crisis in the future. In fact, deficit spending has occurred in many of the past 10 years and is projected again for this fiscal year ending June 30. The city’s total government funds are declining dramatically due to capital improvement projects and other expenditures.

At the last Financial Review Committee meeting, a vote by three members appointed by Councilmen Viczorek, Tomlinson and Muller determined that these findings would not be presented to the public at the April 18 City Council meeting. The public deserves transparency, accountability and reports based on an independent review of the facts. Most importantly, the Committee should make the public fully aware of the current financial condition of the city.

To submit a letter to the editor, email editorial@danapointtimes.com.

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comments (5)

  • After Measure H and I, and the elections of Mayor Lewis and Council member Wyatt last year, I had hoped we would see more transparency from city council and staff. It appears they think nothing has changed.

    I wonder what it will take to convince the old boys club of Muller, Viczorek and Tomlinson to treat the residents of Dana Point with the respect they deserve?

  • Are you kidding me? Who else but the person responsible for City finances should be the staff person assigned to the committee. Also, KILLEBREW isn’t running the meetings but is assigned to the meetings. Big difference. Ms. Hill should research how city committees are ran before publishing YET ANOTHER rant about how the city isn’t following procedures.

    Speaking of the Financial Review Committee, how about the Committee actually follow protocol and procedures that ALL OTHER CITY COMMITTEES HAVE TO? Toni Nelson dismissed the fact that the Financial Review Committee DID NOT APPROVE HER PRESENTATION and conspired with Mayor Lewis to call her up to loosely present her presentation and opinions anyway. A presentation that was factually incorrect and proceeded to speak over staff to argue her unapproved points. No one is talking about how Mayor Lewis invited the committee members to speak on an issue they VOTED was not ready to present to the council. Yes you read that correctly, the Committee VOTED to not present to the City Council yet but Mayor Lewis invited Nelson to speak and asked questions that basically allowed Nelson to discuss key points in her unapproved presentation.

    Next up was Mayor Pro Tem Wyatt who proceeded to ignore procedures and give a biased and murky presentation about the budget.

    But wait, the night wasn’t over yet! Buck Hill, another Financial Review Committee member got up and threw a temper tantrum and publically disparaged employees and the MAYOR DID NOTHING TO STOP HIM. As the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, Lewis and Wyatt have to follow protocol and procedures at all times, especially when they have their minions speaking at the council meetings.

    This financial review committee sounds like a committee set up to push the Mayor’s agenda with no regard to facts, procedures, the Brown Act, etc. Mayor Lewis doesn’t seem to understand what exactly the committee is supposed to be doing as she kept saying it wasn’t intended to be a watchdog group despite her comments from a January Council meeting of “I would like to see it revamped as more of a financial watchdog group,” Lewis said” What? What exactly is this Committee’s job?

    Don’t forget how Mayor Lewis was texting Ms. Nelson while Nelson addressed the council a few meetings ago. Puppet Master anyone?

    So let me get this straight, the “City” is a big bad meany who does not follow procedures and pushes their own agendas? Well now that Lewis, Wyatt, Nelson and Hill are part of the “City” it sounds like they are acting just the same.

    Yep, we are going to get things accomplished now!

    • Glenn’s approach is typical of our legacy councilmen and city staff: attack the person, without offering any facts to contradict their conclusions. The truth feels threatening when you’ve been misleading the public for years.

      The citizens of Dana Point are too smart for these rhetorical games. Now that we are getting the truth about city finances, we will insist on changes.

  • We are not kidding you Glenn. There are so many different charges in your comment but only a few facts needed to refute it. The document used by Ms Nelson to comment at the council meeting was not a product of the FRC. Ms Nelson, on her own, put together a compilation of economic information culled from 10 years of CAFRs. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is published by the city and is available and essential for understanding the city’s financial condition. Her analysis has been circulated to others in the community and for her to reference it at a council meeting is entirely appropriate. What is not appropriate are the silly hysterical cries from councilman Muller and yourself about supposed Brown act violations and howling about impropriety for revealing to the public what is really going on in Dana Point. Sorry but the public information, properly analyzed, points to financial malpractice by consecutive city councils.

  • Mr. Tipton,

    Thank you for your response to my letter urging that the independence of the Financial Review Committee be maintained for it to be effective and credible. That just seems very logical to me.

    Five people were appointed to form the Financial Review Committee. Mr. Killebrew was not appointed to be a member. Therefore, it would seem appropriate that his input should consist of answering questions asked him by the Committee and providing requested information. Instead at the meetings it appears that Mr. Killebrew is taking charge.

    I hope you and other residents will come to the Financial Review Committee meetings to witness the discussions taking place on very critical issues. That the city is finally taking financial matters seriously is already a major accomplishment..

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