Growing City ~ Growing Pains

It was bound to happen. A questionable financial decision sheds a dark cloud over the ethics of our officials. Campaign contributions are now being reviewed. Phrases like "Old Boys Club" and "questionable ethics" are being tossed around. Implications abound, and we residents are beginning to wonder.

As a resident, that is your job!

Hold your officials to the highest standards, and ask questions. But allow answers to be given, before judgement is made. Asking questions is more than just your right, it is your obligation, and duty to the city in which you live. But do not start passing your own judgement, without proof. And questionable acts are not proof, just questionable.

As a writer, it is my job to intrigue my readers and ask you to think. Today, I am asking you to think about your city, and make the officials accountable. Voice your opinions! Be heard!

I say, peel back the layers, and see what lies beneath. The most important thing that our local government can be is transparent, so we can be confident that they are making decisions that best benefit us, the residents.

I know an audit is at hand, and we will all know the truth shortly. Be grateful that we live in a society in which we can ask, and not only be heard, but answered!




11 Comments:

  1. I tried to comment but I think the site ate it...

    Anyways, I'm new to Menifee and I want to know a good place to keep up with current news/events (obviously, besides this blog). I have no idea what this post is referring to, and I would like to be informed of and involved in local events.

    Thanks!

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  2. Here are some articles for catch up purposes...


    http://www.pe.com/localnews/menifee/stories/PE_News_Local_W_sovercharge06.432e46e.html

    http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/article_68f52d3b-f388-562e-8cca-e8168c499518.html

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  3. Can't wait to read the results. When are these idiots going to learn that sooner or later everything will be out in the open for us all to see. Let us know what you find out!

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  4. www.fullvaluereview.com

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  5. More

    http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_W_sfinance16.474b87a.html

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  6. Michael ThompsonMarch 17, 2010 8:09 AM

    I agree with Tina 100%.
    First "LIVE" Menifee City Council Meeting Now Available to Menifee Residents to view. Courtesy of MenifeeNewsNow.com

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  7. The city audit needs to go far beyond finances. The audit needs to include the action and lack of action on critical issues that staff may be dragging their feet on.

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  8. The problems that are permeating the city of Meniifee appear to go far beyond the budgetary audit. It seems to be in the operations of the city itself. We have no less than two staff people that are city council people in other cities. Though this is not legally a problem the situation may create ethical problems. For example the city finance director is a city council person in another city and has received campaign funds from one of the suppliers over billing the city of Menifee.

    Two of the City Council people hold jobs in other government forms that may overlap with their positions and responsibility. None of this or the above is illegal. However, who do these peoples loyalties and responsibilities belong to first. The city, the employer, or the contributor. In any case one may be in a position of loyalty to all three factions.

    It appears that the City Manager has or has had an equity position in at least one firm that represents the City. Our city manager has experience as an assistant city manager and a interim city manager, prior to becoming the City Manager of Menifee. Is this the experience level our city needs and deserves.

    Now let us look at Walmart. It will sit between two Super Targets. It will be on a street that already sees major traffic issues. A bridge planned to help the situation will not be completed for at best a year after the store is completed. Maybe what the City needs is an economic stimulus director to go out and encourage other types of shopping in Menifee than Super Stores. We need entertainment venues. We need restaurants. We need specialty stores. We need a plan that is responsive to what the city populous wants. Maybe a survey in the year of the census would be a good idea. Outlet malls are very popular. Maybe one of the better developers of these bargain malls could be contacted.

    As far as recreations, we have so many ways to go. Has anyone considered a community garden or gardens? Has anyone considered developers be required to build and maintain parks for every x amount of homes built? How about a museum that celebrates the history of our valley? How about a Boys and Girls Club.? It could go on and on. However, I think everyone gets the point. What is lacking is a look at the future.

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  9. Help me understand this. Scott Mann is the head of the finance committee. He has sat back while the city finances have fallen into disarray. Audits loom. The question I have is where was Scott Mann before the walls came tumbling down around the City of Menifee? His resume show various degrees and certifications. However, I always thought the idea of a finance committee was to capture things before they came out of control.

    If his position is a new one then his claimed expertise should have caused him to act some time ago when these things were happening. Was he reviewing or interacting with staff in order to prevent this mess. Did he approve payment after the City Manager authorized payments? Or did he just sit on the City Council Throne and go through the motions. It wouldn't be such an issue if his statement after agreeing to make no statement was made. However, if you claim expertise you should be held to a higher standard.

    The harder the wind blows the more that someone will notice. Scott Mann reminds me of someone blowing his horn in traffic when a red light is already on the signal.

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  10. Just to throw in my two-cents, specifically in response to A.NONYMOUS, Mann is in a legislative capacity, not an executive capacity, hence it's the City Manager's job to oversee the city finances and operations. But it's Mann's job to investigate and determine if the City Manager is managing the finances effectively.

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  11. I appreciate Steve’s,protective stance of Scott Mann.. The following may be help in understanding our city’s council. A difference does exist between legislative and executive. However, clarification may be needed. George Wentz holds an administrative position. He does not hold an executive or legislative position. Yes, he is responsible for the daily operations. Mann is on the finance committee responsible for oversight. However, the looming question is where was the oversight months ago? This is not a new problem. It appears that unique relationships and over billing may have been going on for sometime.

    Actually a city manager is often referred to as a Chief Administrative Officer. Though he is an executive, in city government it is more common to refer to the city manager as a CAO not CEO. As a matter of fact we have what is often called a weak mayor form of government. That is, the mayor's job is not elected by the populous and is primarily ceremonial. In this form of government the council holds both the legislative and executive positions. The City Manager (CAO) brings financial bills to the council after his approval and hopefully the approval of other staff members.

    Mann is on the finance committee. That committee has an additional responsibility in financial oversight. It was the finance committee that found the problems in the first place. See the Californian March 5th to confirm the finance committee found the problem. Unfortunately, maybe a little late in the game. Then Mann made a statement. Again all members of the council said they would not make any comment until after the investigation. It doesn't matter if the Mayor approved or not. Remember the mayors job is primarily ceremonial. Additionally the council agreed that no one would speak on the issues except the Mayor and City Manager. Mann's statement basically was a resume of all the reasons he should be on the committee. Since he is so knowledgeable and aware of so many other things he may hold an additional responsibility to the council, the city and himself. He chose to speak of these qualifications.

    When a legislative finance committee is established it often examines past, existing and future finances. Thus maybe too little to late. Nothing would have been said if Mann kept his agreement with the other legislators (city council members) and kept quiet. Since he chose to speak in spite of honoring an agreement made by the council, he is also open to more scrutiny. Political Ethics is another item the council is looking at. I am not saying any impropriety occurred. I am saying the finance committee is involved in due diligence. Maybe this time a little late in the game. Fortunately, the committee found something before the mess continued, and became worse. It wasn't the administrative saying Council we have a problem. It appears the council is attempting three things. One to clean up what may be a mess and second to set up protocols that should have been in place all along. Third to set ethical standards for the future. This is occurring somewhat late in the cities limited history. Mann is on the finance committee. The finance committee can't find the problem in the first place. Suggest new protocols. Work with auditors and then not open itself to the question why not sooner?

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