Now that the court case against the former city deputy finance director is moving forward, we are starting to learn what happened and how it was done.
I don’t know about you, but to find out that it allegedly had been going on for 10 years and over $900,000 was allegedly taken makes me angry.
I come back to three questions:
Where were the auditors?
Where were the auditors during that period of time and why didn’t they catch the alleged theft? If it were not for the two employees in the Finance Department telling the director, this would still be going on.
How could the auditors certify all was well when around $100,000 was missing every year? How could they certify the audit when the checkbook didn’t balance? Finally in this year’s audit report, $200,000 of missing funds is reported.
What makes this all even worse is the same auditors have just had their contract extended for another five years. Does that make sense?
Aldermen should be asking questions
That brings me to the third question: The Board of Aldermen (BOA) has the fiduciary responsibility, per the City Charter. Why are the aldermen not screaming for answers? For the most part, the BOA has left it up to the mayor.
The city has placed a lean on the property of the accused. The house is valued significantly less than the alleged amount taken. Now the city is going after other assets and trying to find out where the money may have gone. Good luck there.
Has the city filed a claim against the surety bond taken out on all those that handle money, per the Charter requirements? I think I know the answer to that question — no. There isn’t a bond. If there were, the mayor would be telling us that, but he is silent.
Not professionally run financially
The fact of the matter is the city is not being run professionally when it comes to finances. Maybe now that we have a new finance director that will change. But as long as the mayor has the final say in everything, I doubt it.
This is fiscal mismanagement, plain and simple. The fault lies with the mayor and the Republican-controlled BOA.
The mayor has said in the newspapers that changes have been put in place to prevent this from happening in the future. Great, what are they? He owes the taxpayers an explanation.
Happened under the mayor’s nose
Often he cites his tight reigns on fiscal spending as the reason for budget surpluses and low taxes. He reviews all purchase orders and signs the checks.
All of this happened directly under his nose. Obviously those reigns were not tight enough.
Before the mayor starts crying political attack, he needs to remember he is a politician. Every time he is criticized he claims it is a political attack.
He is correct — he is a politician, and when he is criticized it is political. That is the nature of his position. So stop crying.
David Gioiello is chairman of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee.