Scott Mann's Statement on Overbilling

Below is a statement of Councilman Scott Mann regarding the recent issue on the City of Menifee having been overbilled for certain services....

STATEMENT – Scott A. Mann, Councilman and Chair, Finance Committee, City of Menifee, Menifee – March 18, 2010

The Menifee City Council agreed that there would be no comment from its members during the course of the audit and that statements would come from the Mayor or City Manager. As a result, I had the Mayor review this prior to its release and he had no objection. The purpose of my statement is to confirm for the citizens of Menifee that the Council is proceeding in an appropriate manner based upon its recent 5-0 vote to go forward with another audit. The audit, and some of the issues it addresses, has been the subject of on-going press coverage. The public needs to know that this is a real audit for real reasons and not a political vendetta as some would charge.

First, an explanation of why this job fell to me. My background includes service as an investigator for the Judge Advocate General, presiding over Summary Court-Martials (which are one officer trials) and conducting administrative review hearings for non-judicial proceedings. I hold a certification in public finance from USC and I also have a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Based upon these experiences, my colleagues felt I was in the best position to lead this performance review based upon an assumption of decreasing revenues from the State.

Second, an explanation of what led to the vote on the professional services agreement: the Finance Committee began reviewing invoices and the warrant register in December 2009, at its own request. Up until that time, we had relied on staff to follow appropriate internal controls in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Unfortunately, what began as a performance audit of contracts for a new city broadened rapidly when the Finance Committee discovered that the City had paid Winzler & Kelly almost $2 million dollars without any apparent review or segregated oversight of those expenses. As a fiduciary for the city taxpayer, as evidence surfaces that a prudent person would view as possible serious ethical concerns or even potential legal violations; it becomes incumbent upon us to allow facts to lead us to our conclusions, not personalities nor politics.

We discovered irregularities in the PV Maintenance billing as reported in the press. The total amount of the PV Maintenance billing will exceed $1 million dollars. However, when combined, the Winzler & Kelly and the PV Maintenance expenditures exceed $3 million dollars. This dollar figure represents nearly 15% of the City of Menifee’s entire budget. We have identified potential irregularities in the payments of other contracts but, it would not be fair to list those firms in this statement while the examination of those contracts is on-going (let me confirm that this does not include the City Attorney’s contract). Without placing any blame, the prudent man rule mandates that we look at these expenditures more thoroughly in light of an obvious lack of internal financial controls.

Based on our Council’s commitment to work as a team, our unanimous vote to proceed and the very seriousness of the problem, our Council decided to move expeditiously and let professional, qualified, independent sets of eyes look at our books. Unfortunately, a member of the Council, Ms. Kuenzi, has decided to not honor her vote as evidenced by her three personal attempts this week to interfere with this audit. While I fail to understand how this will protect taxpayers by doing so without having complete knowledge of what has occurred, I felt it necessary to issue a statement today to clear the record and reiterate that this process was begun on unanimous vote of the Council. Looking at the evidence available to us, it is clear we have serious unanswered questions related to the day-to-day operations of the city and we will continue to search out the truth and communicate that to taxpayers.

While I am not authorized to speak for my colleagues, I am quite certain that none of us approved the broad scope of this secondary external independent audit for “political” reasons. We approved it because the citizens of Menifee expect us to do our jobs and do them well. They also expect us to conduct ourselves properly and uphold the highest ethical standards in the performance of those duties.

- Scott A. Mann, Councilman and Chair, Finance Committee, City of Menifee, March 18,
2010




11 Comments:

  1. I believe Ms.Kuenzi is correct. ALL contracts need to be reviewed. Why is it that the Mayer and Mann are only wanting to audit PV Mainentance not Ms. Betsy Martyn?
    Ms. Betsy Martyn has been known in the past to overcharge her clients. Check with the City of West Covina, and the same thing happened with her there. An overcharge of $75,000.00 is alot of money, more than most City of Menifee employees make in a year, let alone the six months it took Betsy to overcharge. Why are are you only auditing PV Mainentance, is it because they are from Orange County? We know how Council feels about anyone or anything from Orange County.
    I smell prejudice. Mayer and Mr. Mann are you prejudice against people and companies from Orange County?

    ReplyDelete
  2. On another blog What does "Proud of City of Menifee" have to say about "relativly small amount" when it comes to thius amount?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Under the Freedom of Information Act, isn't all information, wiih some exceptions, available to the public upon demand. Why is the information that Council Member Kuenzi requested is not appropriate? If any member of the public can walk into City Hall and request information, why not Ms. Kuenzi?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The comical city council of Menifee. The city council agreed no comment would be made during the audit. Scott Mann has an inability to say nothing and follow the councils wishes. He then gets the mayor's ok to comment. What is it that Councilman Mann doesn't understand about keeping his mouth shut. As far as working for the Judge Advocates Office, One would think he learned about secrecy in investigations, and following orders. The councils vote would seem to be an order. Loose lips sink ships

    ReplyDelete
  5. Contrary to the people who have sided with Darcy Kuenzi, I believe all contracts should be reviewed. Wanting to talk about any contract other than ones where some form of conflict may occur between staff would be jumping the gun at this time. What is it Ms. Kuenzi is so interested in as far as the direction of the audit. concerning would she like to discuss the $1,500 donation her campaign received from GST, the firm Gary Thompson ran before his employment with the City of Menifee. Then Ms. Kuenzi works as a legislative assistant to Riverside Supervisor Ashley. So If a conflict occurred between the two positions: How would she vote? Then we have Gary Thompson and Carmen Cave who hold staff positions in Menifee and are on the city councils of cities in Orange County. How would they treat a contractor they are doing business with in both positions? So many conflicting relationships. They may be legal. However, are they ethical.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I want to congratulate Councilman Scott Mann for his self serving, pompous resume that has nothing to do with the matters at hand. Is he looking at running for another office and attempting to capture any opportunity for free publicity.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mann claims Kuenzi is interfering with the audit: “Unfortunately, a member of the Council, Ms. Kuenzi, has decided to not honor her vote as evidenced by her three personal attempts this week to interfere with this audit.”

    I don’t agree with his assessment and I question his motivation for commenting about Kuenzi. How does he equate an information request with interference and dishonoring a vote? Evidence of meeting behind closed doors with the audit team would be worthy of inclusion in his “Statement”, but this information request isn’t.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is it!
    Scott Mann has irritated our neighbors in Wildomar with his arrogance, and now he's blowing his horn even more.

    I am so happy that his term is up this November.

    We don't need him stabbing his fellow council members any more. We need team players who are good people. Lets find someone with less of an EGO.

    Ron C.
    Sun City

    ReplyDelete
  9. So everyone is aware. The "City of Menifee" maintenance trucks that you see around our fair city are simply PV Maintenance trucks with their employees. It would cost the city less to purchase their own vehicles and hire their own staff than continue to pay this outside company.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a Menifee resident I view Councilman Mann's post as admirable. It appears that most of these posts are by individuals that are intimately involved with the ins and outs of city politics and could even be threatened by what Mr. Mann might uncover. Let the man do his job and the truth prevail.

    ReplyDelete
  11. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/article_b93bae7b-fb53-5039-9114-fb62ede58db8.html

    Update

    ReplyDelete

Loading