Not So Fast Mr. Kisela …..

Not so fast Mr. Kisela      April 16, 2014 2:50 PM
From:   “Ted Noftall” <Ted@TedNoftall.com>

NotSoFastTo   :”Greg Kisela” <gkisela@port-orange.org>  cc: City Council …..

 
Manager Kisela,
The following comments are in follow-up to our conversation at the  A&B Advisory board meeting on April 14th
Your  suggestion  that my posts on blogs and elsewhere caused the finance employee who was hired to perform the monthly reconciliations of the City’s bank accounts to resign is pathetic.
If that individual required  minimal assistance to do her job she should have received it,  AND  the monthly bank reconciliations should have been completed  on a timely basis without exception or excuse. so as to safeguard taxpayer interests at all times.
If that individual required more than minimal assistance to complete those  reconciliations,   (a) she should  never have been hired to a position for which she was un-qualified, and  (b) she should have  been dismissed when her lack of qualification  became obvious.
EITHER WAY the failure was yours  as was your decision  to hide the fact that timely bank reconciliations were not completed for most of last year,  AND THEN  you compounded that deception by having your finance director mislead the A&B board regarding their bank reconciliation inquiries.
While I understand you do not want anyone reviewing the qualifications and experience of those you employ let me  tell you why that is important and remind you that the  A&B Advisory  board was established with the  bedrock purpose  of creating a:    professionally  inquisitive and guardedly skeptical volunteer citizen oversight board,  possessing specialized educational and practical experience in matters of audit and finance to be on guard  as yet another failsafe, to alert Council and the People they are elected to represent, as to any potential concerns regarding the independence and performance of future Auditors,  Managers and Finance Directors alike.
 Now let me tell you why this  review is relevant.  The independent Auditors opinion reads in part;

  • “ The City’s management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America;  this includes the design, implementation, and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.“   ( Independent Auditors’ Report – CAFR  P 21 )

At the last  A&B  meeting that Auditor confirmed that while the City does not prepare its own financial statement but rather subs out that task …..  he is not of the understanding  that the City subs out the design, implementation, and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements,  nor does his firm assist with those matters as that would impact his independence.
 So let me ask you directly – Does the City  sub out the  design, implementation, and maintenance of internal control,  OR  does it perform that task in house,  OR is that task not performed at all ??
If the City  performs that task in house who actually performs that design, implementation, and maintenance ??,    AND   what  qualifications and experience does that individual or individuals possess to adequately discharge  the  important task of designing, implementing and monitoring  controls adequate to safeguarding taxpayer assets  .…. because  if any of your Finance staff including your  Finance Director or Comptroller  is a degreed accountant, or holds a CPA designation , or has any recent professional accounting or auditing experience  those facts are well concealed on their resumes.
Manager Kisela  you should be further  aware of  a serious problem with  the  veracity and competency   of what your Finance director is saying and doing .  Mr. Saunders told me not less than 6 or 8 months ago that while historically City staff  never reviewed  the monthly reconciliation  of the CITY bank account administered by Kemper Sports  they were doing so as at the time of that conversation,  YET  at Monday’s  A&B meeting he advised that last month was only the 1st or 2nd month those reviews had taken place.      Big difference.
When pressed  he further advised that he personally performed last month’s bank reconciliation review.  That is most curious because as you may remember at the last Golf board meeting I inquired as to an explanation regarding  the $7,664 negative number in an account labeled  Cash-Housebank  &  Other.  Not only did Mr. Saunders not offer an  explanation at that golf meeting he was not able to offer an explanation last evening,  some 3 weeks later although he did mumble something to the effect that he just looked at that months reconciliation.
So what exactly does Mr. Saunders  ‘ bank reconciliation review’ consist of, and is it an adequate review ??
Finally Manager Kisela the current  level  deception regarding the your Finance department’s performance is not in the best interest of the taxpaying public.
The public never received a copy of the Auditor’s management letter for the 2012 Audit ,  AND  only received a copy from the 2013 management letter  inadvertently.  Council approved that  letter  as part of the 2013 Audit package  at their March  25th  2013 meeting  and while it was posted on  the City web site initially it was subsequently removed   LIKELY   BECAUSE  it  not only contained a  most disparaging remark regarding  the readiness of your Finance staff,   BUT BECAUSE IT HAS CALLED  into direct  question the veracity of what Mr. Saunders advised the A&B board at their  Jan 13th meeting regarding delays in the start of the Audit.
Is there a problem with  Mr. Saunders veracity,  OR  is the problem that he is just not well informed as to what is going on in his department  ??.
Ted Noftall

10 thoughts on “Not So Fast Mr. Kisela …..

  • April 16, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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    Maybe it’s your fault the City Buyer has resigned too? Oh well I hope they find someone that can get more than a couple bids. That seems to have been a problem and they frustrated perfectly good contractors away from the bidding process. Finance at its best.

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  • April 17, 2014 at 12:33 am
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    I watched the council meeting last night and after all of the outfall on this blog about the Woodman Report and the Yarborough discrepancies coupled with Ford’s emails to Kisela about the zero read meters, you would think that there would be some honest discussion from our elected officials to their constituency about all of this revelatory information that a number of suppressed yet courageous individuals within their organization attempted to get out to them.
    Richard Woodman has taken the stand to represent the collective anonymity of those creditable individuals remaining in the workforce that Greg Kisela has methodically attempted to suppress. Woodman has been the voice of decades of institutional experience which has been suppressed in the past by city officials, consulting engineers, and currently the new city politic that is setting up its roots to perpetuate this façade.
    Mayor Allen Green, the master of the dog and pony show has master crafted a meeting of sugar coating and cover up by diverting the attention away from these significant issues that need to be aired out in public in favor of a fluff show. He brings in children and student government showcases to appear to be the kind old grandfather. A whole fan-fair of police officers getting commendations for routine duties and a lot of minor issues from citizens to divert the citizens attention away from the major volcanic issues that are pressurizing under the surface.
    There was a sophomoric explanation about the sunshine laws to the student government attendees without an explanation about the political obfuscation games that are played in the name of these sunshine laws.
    More specifically, assuming the honesty of our councilmen, they are not allowed to have intelligent dialogue about the most important and contentious issues affecting their constituency in private amongst themselves. These issues are to be aired out in public before their constituency so that there are no back door deals or political power blocks formed to circumvent the will of the citizens that elected them.
    It works like this: All of the politicians read the city manager read file and they read the political blogs so that they know what is going down unless they are brain dead or corrupt. They come to a council meeting and methodically avoid bringing up or discussing any of the issues. When someone like Ted Noftall tries to force their hand in the very limited window he has to do such, mayor Allen Green shamelessly, and contrary to his fiduciary duty to his constituency shuts him down,
    Essentially our elected officials in collusion with the city manager shut down any controversial sunshine dialogue that can potentially take place to air out and hopefully resolve the unsolved problems that exist in our community. This empowers the obfuscating practices of incompetent management that has been imported by the mayor and the city manager to entrench a circuit of reinforcement for their incumbent political agendas. To hell with the citizens of Port Orange they elected us and they are not intelligent enough to be involved in the political process. They abdicated the power to us, so now they have to accept our superior intelligence in determining their fate. If anyone questions us we have a strategy to shut this down so that we will not have to honestly address the issues of our constituency that elected us in an open forum.
    Seeing that the mayor and the council methodically avoids addressing the most important issues in the sunshine in favor of fluff, their is never intelligent discussion in public or follow up about the most important political issues. Their is no accountability in city administrative management nor is their any continuity or accountability with our elected officials from council meeting to council meeting. It is nothing more than a dog and pony show.
    The only time anything is addressed by the council is when the dog and pony show is unable to contain surmounting problems through diversion or obfuscation. When this becomes a legal issue, when it becomes mainstream news, or when it becomes politically embarrassing for one of our city officials is the only time they do anything that resembles their fiduciary responsibility to their constituency. When push comes to shove and they are unable to cover things up, a politician like Bob Ford goes into a pseudo-intellectual dissertation about issues he obviously does not understands, coupled with his own homespun anecdotal self endorsed wisdoms, and orders a workshop on the matter. Any honest person that follows and archives the city council POG telecasts will realize that these workshops very seldom come to fruition. Its just something that Bob Ford says at the spare of the moment that he thinks will sound intelligent with no accountability or follow-up. Don’t shoot the messenger, I didn’t vote for him!
    The bottom line is that week after week our mayor and councilmen avoid the surmounting issues at council meetings in favor of political fluff. They fail to carry out their fiduciary duties by hiding behind the sunshine law and using the council meetings to meet the hard issues facing our community head on. Instead they utilize the council meetings to reinforce their personal political agendas. And when they are unable to contain the issues that should be honestly addressed at council meetings someone like Bob Ford will do political damage control by saying that we need to have a workshop on this, full knowing that it will never come to fruition.
    We need to get all of the issues to the forefront again and have continuity and accountability from council meeting to council meeting. If a tough council meeting is on the horizon, Mayor Allen Green doesn’t need to schedule 14 brownie troops that night so the children don’t see the political mayhem. I think he stacks these kinds of agenda items when he anticipates a really nasty council meeting in hopes that people will not address hard issues with kids present.
    One of the biggest things that needs to be aired out and quantified is the efficacy of the meter replacement program after a couple of years now. Is finance tracking the revenues relative to production and billing in some professional format? Have we had intelligent dialogue with other cities and their administrators with their challenges and successes with zero read meter replacement programs? There are other cities that have been through this. Their administrators would honestly exchange information with our Finance and Public Utilities administrators and you will probably find out that a successful zero read meter replacement program over a two year period should render anywhere from a financially quantifiable 8 to 15% revenue gain. For the City of Port Orange that would equate to approximately 3 to 5 million dollars worth of revenues a year. Over a ten year period that would be huge for the financial solidarity of the city of Port Orange.
    Their is technical assistance from the FRWA, AWWA, FWPCOA and other organizations that have circuit riders and engineers that will help the city through these problems that their administrative staff and consulting engineers have failed to do after millions of tax payer dollars have been expended. Quit catching a falling knife, humble yourself, and simply take advantage of help that prudence and intelligence dictates. Lets once and for all get this problem solved for the citizens of Port Orange.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2014 at 8:02 am
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    Isn’t this typical of city management both past and present. Deflecting blame and hiding anything negative that may make them look bad. Do they know how to balance their checkbook? Now you are being blamed Ted.
    Do we have competent management or cover your ass management?

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  • April 17, 2014 at 11:29 am
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    You are correct Rick this is hilarious. If they are now going to start blaming Ted for all the screw ups in Finance poor old Ted will be buried, AND all I did was complain that the taxpayers should not be expected to pay for any employee not capable of performing the tasks for which they were hired.

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  • April 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm
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    Take the blame for the screw ups Ted. You might be entitled to pizza parties and an all expense paid therapeutic vacation.

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  • April 19, 2014 at 4:38 am
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    How about promoting someone to upper management who after years does not, nor has ever functioned in that capacity, and then indefinitely assigning them to a lesser position that cannot be filled internally. This done without a demotion or pay reduction with no end in sight, and without any expectation that the lesser position will ever be filled, or the individual will ever demonstrate the skill sets, knowledge, or work ethic to fill the administrative position that they have been promoted to? If only the citizens of Port Orange knew or the council understood. Port Orange administrative management is extremely dysfunctional.

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  • April 19, 2014 at 9:21 am
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    That offer is tempting indeed Interested.
    Unlimited Pizza coupled with unlimited behavior modification therapy from the Chamber’s resident un-licensed therapist is the time tested way to improve the accounting skills of any finance department, OR at least Mr Kisela so believes.
    BTW Mr. Kisela never got back to me with the specifics of that behavior/ anger management modification therapy. Does anyone know what it consisted of ??
    Were they sitting around Holding hands.? Chanting ?? Shown pictures of Council ???
    Remember the behavior therapist they hired is a 100% un-licensed. therapist.

    Reply
    • April 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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      The sad thing is that Mr. Kisela and upper management will bend over backwards assuaging the pain of these fellow dysfunctional employees that are willing to insert their proboscis in his anus portus. On the other hand Mr. Kisela and his upper managerial hordes will blacklist many high performing long term employees and make their life miserable simply because they see through his façade and try to get the truth out to our city officials and the citizens of Port Orange.
      I would bet my bottom dollar that Kisela has already discussed blacklisted employees with Bob Ford and if Bob is an honest man and Ted Noftall asks him, Bob will admit to this.
      A blacklisted employee is one that knows the truth about persistent malfeasance and misfeasance and is able to tell the story.
      There is a fairly large group of employees that know what needs to be done to correct long term deficiencies in a number of the city’s operations but this would mean upsetting the apple cart of numerous self entitled administrators.

      Reply
  • April 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm
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    I guess I’m right at the top of the blacklist. I have been for years.

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    • April 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm
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      Yes Woody, and you were definitely a red headed step child, and one of legendary proportions. If the remaining red headed step children retire or resign like yourself than the city manager in supreme satisfaction will have no devil’s advocacy so that his I.C.M.A. senior management arm chair generals can bark illogical and capricious orders to the novices that remain in positions that they are not competent enough to do.
      At that time their mantra will be, while directing their subordinates and passing problems they are incapable of understanding down the line, handle it! That will be the day when they all say where is John Galt?

      Reply

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