Well, this week has been an interesting week at City Hall. Today, there was another application to change the always-evolving Westerra Developments - A joint venture brought to you by the great folks at Harvard Developments and Forster Projects. (Sarcasm intended) We all assume (know) that Harvard basically runs our great City, and I, for one, don't intend to let that continue to happen without at least a little pushback from the taxpayers. It's high time we had a City Council and Administration that didn't simply bend over backwards for one or two developers, and the rest be damned! Westerra is a very interesting project and I do plan to talk more about this in a future blog post.
Trust me. The wait will be worth it.
Yesterday, at the Finance and Administration Committee Meeting, there were a number of items on the Agenda, most notably for me was the 2015 Annual Report, Public Accounts and Financial Results. This is always a fun time for me, being a Chartered Professional Accountant, I love numbers. I love analyzing them. I love picking them apart. I don't, however, love arrogant fellow CPA members who feel they are impenetrable and not vulnerable to human error. Such was the case when I found a number of glaring errors within the 2015 Annual Report. The reason why this is so important is that if there are glaring inaccuracies in any part of the Report, how can you and I, the people who pay for that Report, put any trust into the reliability of the entire Report?
Simple answer - you can't.
Below is one of the most glaring inaccuracies, and no matter how much I pressed, City Administration (notably departing CFO Ed Archer who spent a whopping two years here - who replaced the now fired Brent Sjoberg - I'm sensing a trend here), and Finance and Administration Committee simply would not address it directly. Perhaps they will at City Council on May 30, but I'm not holding my breath.
As you can see above, when you look at the numbers from "Budget 2015", the four boxes add together to equal the total at the bottom. However, when you look under "Actual 2015" it is actually the top box that mirrors the total on the bottom, which is the other three boxes added together. Long story short, it's just wrong. Whether this was a typographical error, or someone messed up on putting the totals where they should be, in the end, this tells me the report did not get the scrutiny it deserves, and therefore I have a hard time believing the accuracy of anything else within the report.
One number that Administration better damned well have accurate is the SURPLUS. Unfortunately, there are at least three different figures found within the 2015 Annual Report. One says $9.9 Million (See Exhibit A), which is contained in the letter signed off by Mr. Chris Holden, our new City Manager. One says $5.1 Million (See Exhibit B), which is what Mr. Ed Archer insists is the actual surplus. And finally one shows a whopping $169.8 Million (See Exhibit C)!!! Which is it?? We'll never know, because apparently daring to ask that is akin to calling the entire City Administration liars and they simply take offense to the mere implication that they may not have the best report in the world. City Councillor Bob Hawkins took a good shot at me personally by making some pretty ignorant accusations against me that, if I were someone like Bill Boyd (google "GTH land scandal"), then I might have the audacity to take him to court for defamation.
But I digress.
Finally, this evening, here are my delegations for your viewing pleasure.