City Hall officials have been forced to go on the defensive. The usual games are evident: hedging, stonewalling, obscuring, scrambling, evading, denying, and (frankly) exuding an impression of being less than reasonably above board. They may even be concocting creatively. And all as part of a slippery effort at deceiving.
The irony is that the more there is insisting at deceiving, the more suspecting is the population, the more revealing the antics. Shabby people look shabbier when these tricks are employed and perpetuated.
According to the AG’s office, documents were requested since last year. There is admission that information asked for has been in short supply. That has to be many documents: bulky, as in stacks of them. Voluminous, as in can’t be missed. Not searches for single-page pieces of paper. Some numbers ought to give a better idea of what is involved.
The audit involved some $200 million spent on the restoration of Georgetown, of which over $131 million were for capital projects and a tidy $42 million plus on office equipment and furniture to total in excess of $173 million. That is a lot of cash on a lot of big-ticket items involving quotes and bids and all the rest. Surely, there is some amount of paper readily at hand.
Well, not according to the AG. In the KN edition of June 7, this is what he had to say, “We are not getting information since last year to now.” That is a long time, even when counting ignores however early (or late) in 2018, the requests for supporting documentation were made. Using 2019 only as the starting point means five months have come and gone and nothing.
On behalf of the City Council, the acting Town Clerk is reported in the same KN article to have “disclosed that the city administration has been cooperating with the Audit Office as that entity seeks to conduct a thorough audit of the books. It was noted; however, that some of the information requested has not been forthcoming.” It is not clear as to whether it is the acting Town Clerk, or the Auditor General who is saying “that some of the information is not forthcoming.”
Regardless of who is the speaker, this contradicts what was shared at the statutory meeting of the City Council. For, on the one hand, there is the representation that “the city administration has been cooperating” and then (from somewhere) “that some of the information has not been forthcoming.” Which is really happening? Cooperating? Or delaying through not forthcoming?
It stands to reason that the Audit Office’s position, as now made public by the Auditor General himself, is neither immaterial nor irrelevant. Or of frivolous pieces of paper missing, but of substantial shortfalls in delivery. Reason again dictates after almost a half year that much is lacking and there is little to no movement in producing what is missing.
It could be a case where the responsible departments do not have documents which tell a straight story, or a persuasive one as to where, how, and with whom those tens of millions were spent. It boggles the mind, raises suspicions, and leaves municipal officials in a bad place, when the circumstances, as experienced by the auditors, come to the attention of the public.
Too long. Too glaring. Too unsatisfactory. This is more than about any one official (now gone), but of many more still around, and operating in the same old way. Doing what they want, how they want. The attention and heat are not going away. People must be made to change their way of doing business; or be removed in the best interests of City Council operations and image, along with that of the public’s wellbeing.
His Lordship has indicated problems with work performance. He is on to something. He should have grave concerns about integrity and values and standards. No subtitles needed.
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