ABAB and Where To From Here ??

controlsSince the Audit and Budget Advisory Board was  featured prominently and somewhat inaccurately in a recent News Journal article some additional clarification is required.
The ABAB was established over the reluctance of the Mayor and outgoing Manager in the aftermath of the serious internal control deficiencies that were revealed in the spring and fall of 2012 with the Public Works and Finance  debacles.  The board  currently consists of 7 members some of whom were active in the financial scrutiny of City operations before that board was formed and some who were not.
Those deficiencies that birthed this board  did not  happen overnight.  They  were years in the making, and misdirection regarding those deficiencies masked system wide internal control failures for just as long.
Those internal control deficiencies  were the direct result of too cozy a relationship between a manipulative Mayor,  and the  Manager, Finance Director and the Auditor.  Their cozy actions where all 4  failed to effectively monitor and report on the other and which harmed taxpayer interests greatly  were undeniably non-feasant and   mis-feasant .   They were in some instances likely mal-feasant as well although we will never know for sure as no criminal investigations were ever undertaken.
So what are the people to do when the actions of the Manager, Finance Director and Auditor are working against the best interests of the people, AND what can they do to prevent such occurrences from happening again ?.    The Port Orange Council wisely chose to follow  the timeless wisdom of one of our greatest Founders who noted that “the only safe repository for the liberty of the people is with the people themselves”
Council after realizing it had been mislead for years with false assurances from the very people they relied on the most followed that sage advice by establishing
The  ABAB  to ensure that a volunteer citizen oversight board,  possessing specialized educational and practical experience in matters of audit and finance would be on  guard  as yet another,  and perhaps final failsafe,  to alert Council and the People they are elected to represent,  as to any potential concerns regarding the performance and independence of future  Managers,  Finance Directors and Auditors alike.
While it is difficult for an Auditor to betray a fundamental trust in less than 2 or 3 years on the job, such is not the case  with the Manager and the Finance Director as they can betray taxpayer interests in a far shorter time frame.

  • Betraying taxpayer interests  was exactly what the outgoing Finance Director did in failing to ensure the financial records of the City were prepared on an accurate and comprehensive basis including ensuring that City bank accounts were reconciled in a timely manner,  and that adequate safeguards were in place to prevent un-authorized spending.
  • Betraying taxpayer interests was exactly what the Manager did in making excuses for, and obfuscating the Finance Director’s  non-feasance instead of replacing him.

Opinions differ as to what should have happened at that point,   BUT WHAT did happen is that  ABAB members who were  Citizen activists long before the ABAB was established called the Manager and the Finance director on their non-feasance, AND  that caused a near year long push back that has cumulated in their recent resignations.
I make no apology for my role in those proceedings.     The people  deserved better performance than they received from the from the former long serving Manager and his Finance director  in protecting their interests,  And were  under no obligation to accept similar shoddy performance going forward. AS PAINFUL as the current embarrassment is we are better of nipping this problem in the bud than allowing it to  get progressively worse as happened in the years prior to 2012.
So where do we go from here ??
Do we need to stop and debate the  “trust the Manager crowd  ”  as to  whether  citizens are the proper repository of their own liberties,  OR  whether they should have the unalienable right to scrutinize and criticize their government.  I sure hope not as those questions have been long settled in the hearts of all  but the ignorant, and those who would manipulate.
Where we go from here I would hope is that we learn from our recent  experiences and establish a transparent government that is administered by competent individuals in a responsible manner with accountability and consequences for shoddy performance.
To get there we have to face the reality that unless Mayor Green steps down, or is recalled we have to wait him out  BECAUSE  as his 30 year career demonstrates, as long as he is permitted to remain behind the curtain he will be working as relentlessly  as gravity  in manipulating the situation to ensure his poor decisions from 10 and 20 years ago never receive a fair examination as they increasingly proven  to be unworkable today.  His efforts over just the past two weeks to find a compliant interim Manager and skirt the public participation statute regarding the million dollar missing fill dirt in  the latest reclaimed lakes boondoggle being prime examples.
AND MR. MAYOR pontificating your well worn refrain from the dais that  “ you need to see all the information before you can make a decision “ and that “ we will get back to you  Ted”  and never doing either does not constitute a transparent government.   You and I hold different opinions on the value of your augmented water mining reclaimed irrigation system that have cost taxpayers $25 million for a series of  Ponds, Pipes, Pumps and Lakes  that do not work as intended  UNLESS THE intention all along was to benefit  engineers and contractors alike.
You are deadly afraid to have the true cost of this boondoggle be known and  have thus far managed to find  useful idiot managers like Kisela to serve as your foil as with the “peer review study”  of the lakes design and performance  that he commissioned earlier this year and which conveniently forgot to review  your  long serving    “engineering peer “  who designed and supervised construction of those money pit lakes that you deny citizen access to …. unless of course they are members of the City’s favored  hunt club.
On July 17th  Council  needs to immediately  appoint  assistant Manager Shannon Lewis to serve as  the “ Acting Manager”  until  they  decide  to make other arrangements.  Department hiring from this point forward needs to be done by Shannon and not the outgoing Kisela.     Before July 31st  Council needs to  freeze  all non-essential  spending  for the next year or so until they  have selected a new  Manager free from the Mayor’s interference,  and until  competent department directors are  in place and we are receiving  comprehensive financials  and multi faceted  detailed analysis’s  in which justified confidence may be expressed.
If the Mayor and outgoing manager attempt to do otherwise they will fanning the flames of the justifiable indignations that surround the past 15 months of the Green/Kisela administration.
When the Range Rider come knocking and they will they need to be told  “thanks but no thanks”   Port Orange cannot afford any more of their free assistance.      I would urge caution in this process.  We need to get Kisela out of town,  let the dust settle and get the November elections behind us,   AND we will do just fine with Shannon.
In the longer term  we need to recognize that the trend in our country is one of decreasing confidence in government in favor of  greater citizen involvement,   AND RETURN much of the Manager’s authority back to the Council.   This process should begin immediately with provisional ordinance changes  that should be subsequently placed before the people for ratification as Charter amendments in time for the 2016 elections.
Ted Noftall

12 thoughts on “ABAB and Where To From Here ??

  • July 14, 2014 at 6:08 am

    All of that is spot on ! How true.
    The future decisions of our city need to be made by the new regime. They do not need to be hurried and Ms. Lewis can hold the fort down in the interim. No Kelton, Tipton or Range Riders involvement.
    And finally reign in the Mayor.

    • July 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      ‘s. Lewis will hold down the fort and that is all. Wasn’t she doing a stint as interim utilities director and never caught the free vacation time Smith was dishing out. Did she just turn a blind eye? It took Donna Steinbeck to discover the fraud by asking the right questions. She is the only director doing things above board in the whole city.

      • July 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm

        You have got to be kidding. DONNA stienebach sat right at the public utilities admin table and overheard her two public utility administrative colleagues brag about being in collusion with Roger Smith in the destruction of public records. She not only did nothing about it but was instrumental in the administrative coverup that involved Kisela’s cohersion of inocent employees and exclusive scape goating of Roger Smith. Roger was the sacraficial goat that stopped the inquiry into the rest of the Parker regime that would have exposed the manager’s knowledge of the inter-departmental systemic prevalence of administrative leave dispensation. That is why Kisela rewarded Stienebach with her golden parachute assignment when her employment contract expired and that may be why there was a big information purge on the city server about the time the IT director abrupty retired.

        • July 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

          I guess you don’t understand the definition of a scapegoat. You must be one of the “innocent” recipients of the admin leave. Great job reporting the public records destruction. What a stand up employee you must be. Try again fraudster.

          • July 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            I guess we know where your goat is tied. Guilt beguiles itself and your sins will find you out. Some men’s sins follow swiftly
            on their heels and some men’s sins tarry, but they inevitably find them. I suspect that day of reckoning is imminent and I wise man would be found getting his house in order, but a fool will rail against that day, even unto his own destruction.

          • July 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

            Your goat got got. H a h a h a h a

          • July 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm

            In Leviticus 16:10 it is written,”But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat”. Roger Smith was sent into the wilderness to atone for Allen Green’s, Ken Parker’s and the rest of the hypocritical administration’s sins.
            A scapegoat is a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place. Because Ken Parker, Allen Green, and Greg Kisela are responsible for this sacrifice and because it was to atone for Green’s and Parker’s sins until they confess and make restitution this will forever taint their soul. As a deacon Parker should understand this, but if none of them care to face this truth it will plague them for the rest of their life and follow them beyond this incarnation. They are not fooling the One that sees all in which we live and move and have our being within.

          • July 15, 2014 at 7:12 pm

            aw come on anon. be fair and rebut the issue not the commentator.

        • July 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

          It was Rob that exposed the Admin. time not Donna. Trickster is correct about the two at administration saying they destroyed the book used to track time off In the presence of Donna. I guess they didn’t count on it being on a computer One of them got admin time off from Shannon to play golf. He said he was taking the time off if she authorized it or not. She offered us time off if we worked family days. There is info on record from the police investigation and we have copies of it all for future use. It’s public information. I think anonymous may be one of the people trickster was referring to. People know who he is. If he were half as smart as he thinks he is he would turn off his computer. He is just exposing himself. He might want to start looking for another job or consider retirement. From what I’ve been hearing his time is near. He shouldn’t get cocky and think the same thing that has just sent others down the road recently won’t catch up with him.

          • July 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm

            Let trickster write and tell us what he wants to. who cares if he gets caught or is going to retire. let us stick to the issues. let’s judge the issues not the motives.

  • July 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    The paper shredders were worked to death destroying documents.
    Likely that computer documentation was wiped clean too.

    • July 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      The nice thing though is that if any citizen really wanted to know the truth about all this they can obtain the information from the city under the freedom of information act. The derivative spread sheet that chronicled the admnistrative leave that Smith, Ulrich, and Lewis issued is a matter of public record. The audio and video testimony that was taken by the police from various individuals during the investigation is also available to the public. It is very telling, and those that told the truth were marginalized. Any citizen that cares to know the real truth about what transpired simply needs to order these videos under the public information act.


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