First Mate Dave Burkland declares MUTINY! Schwab too busy campaigning to take the helm.

15 Aug

As you may have read, local business owner and city council candidate Toby Schindelbeck has been after  Finance MisDirector Jennifer Hennessy and City Mangler Dave Burkland to comply with the city code and hand over monthly budget updates that include all the pertinent information demanded by the code – including our revenues. 

Maybe you’ve lived here long enough to remember a string of embezzlements that made the news – several local non-profits and a couple of long-time local businesses – all hookwinked by older women bookkeepers, for  10’s of thousands of dollars. One popular Esplanade business owner recently said he’s still suffering the effects, almost 10 years later.

Besides the fact that they were all older ladies with good reputations, the common thread in these crimes was how they did it – they just didn’t report all the revenues they were taking in, taking the money themselves instead. That sounds like an old trick, doesn’t it? Well, obviously, it still has the potential to work.

Those of us who’ve been watching the city $taffers consistently have heard budget reports that just didn’t make sense – most recently, the vast discrepancies in the budget report Hennessy gave early this year, and a May report in which she was suddenly short so much money the city had to close Fire Station 5.  Now, if she was doing the job for free, that might fly, but we pay this woman roughly $160,000 a year, and you’d think she could do the job for that kind of dough. 

So Schindelbeck’s request for the monthly finance reports required by the code is not only reasonable, it’s necessary. We need to press this woman to make better explanation of where all this money is going. 

I’ll tell you where it’s going – Hennessy’s salary has increased by over $30,000 since she gave her first warning of “deficit.” 

But Hennessy will only do the job her bosses require, and Dave Burkland tells Schindelbeck in this e-mail below, he’s not going to make her do it, even while admitting it’s perfectly do-able.

From: “David Burkland” <DBURKLAN@ci.chico.ca.us>

Date: August 10, 2012 5:26:26 PM PDT

To: “Toby Schindelbeck”
Cc: “Jennifer Hennessy” <jhenness@ci.chico.ca.us>, “Lori Barker” <LBARKER@ci.chico.ca.us>
Subject: Re: Public Records Request response

 Mr. Schindelbeck,
 
I am responding to your email dated August 7, 2012, to the City’s Finance Director, Jennifer Hennessy.  As you know, the Council directed the Finance Committee to agendize an item to determine the form and content of monthly financial information that would best benefit the Council and community. As I mentioned at the Council meeting, staff researched Section 908 of the City Charter and found that monthly reports provided to the Council over the years had varied significantly and had included the monthly claims and investment reports that the Finance Director recently provided you. 
 
In your email you acknowledge the receipt of information which Ms. Hennessy provided you in response to your Public Records Act request for monthly financial reports as defined by the Chico City Charter section 908. 
 
You then repeat your request for such monthly reports and state that you understand the Public Records Act to allow the City 10 days to provide the requested information and that “[t]his applies to Public Records which are created, or which should have been created…..”
 
The Public Records Act requires the City to provide records which are in existence at the time the request for those records is received.  It does not require that records be created.  To the extent that you are requesting the City to create records in a form that you feel should have been done in the past, there is no requirement that the City create those records. 
 
At this time, the City has provided you all of the records that it has which we believe are responsive to your request and, therefore, has fully complied with your request. 
 
I believe that the Finance Committee will take this opportunity to focus on financial information needs going forward.  Any recommendation from the Finance Committee will go to the full Council for final action.  We’ll keep you informed of the dates and times of the meetings and hope you have an opportunity to participate.  If you have any questions, please call me at 896-7201 or email: dburklan @ci.chico.ca.us.
 
Dave Burkland
City Manager
Well, there it is – a guy who is paid nearly $200,000 a year telling us he’s not going to do his job.  And where’s his boss, Ann Schwab? 
Currently Schwab is too busy running her re-election campaign, playing Evita! for the students, to do anything about running the city of Chico.  
But you can make use of the above mentioned e-mail addresses to let Burkland and Hennessy know how you, the taxpayer, feel about this. Notice how they both took steps to make it harder to figure out their city e-mail address – most employees just use their first initial and last name – notice how Burkland does his all in caps, and both he and Hennessy leave off the last letter of their name. They don’t like their e-mail addresses given out, so be nice.  But be firm. Tell them we want to hear the reports Burkland admits are do-able EVERY MONTH, like it says in the charter.
Like Toby Schindelbeck often reminds us – the city Charter is our constitution, and we should take it more seriously. 
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10 Responses to “First Mate Dave Burkland declares MUTINY! Schwab too busy campaigning to take the helm.”

  1. Libby August 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    “MisDirector”? ‘City Mangler”? That’s not nice. Shouldn’t you be setting an example?

    It’s certainly a good idea to make sure that revenue is matching projected expenditure through the year, but tell me, how often does the state gov send us money? Not monthly, I don’t think. And property taxes, the get collected once a year, right?

    So aren’t you really just making noises to advance your political position, rather than any constructive civic one?

    • Juanita Sumner August 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      I’m making noise? What’s with you all the sudden, Chatter Box?

      • Joseph August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

        I think it’s her skull mug.

  2. Joseph August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    So Burkland is saying the state law doesn’t require hime to provide the public with a report they don’t already have so he won’t provide it.

    Yet he conveniently ignores the fact city law does require the report be created monthly.

    It looks pretty clear that as long as the Gang of 4 is around no one is going to see a monthly report.

    • Libby August 16, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      But if September’s says what August’s did, what on earth is the point … except of course that you get to have your way, which is always nice.

      In a perfect world, there should be something generated every month and up on the city website. I wonder if they have software to do that. If they don’t, would you want them to spend money?

      • Joseph August 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

        Sure, and take it out of Hennesy’s salary to pay for it.

  3. Joseph August 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Dang Juanita, you must have made someone mad because it looks like they wiped Ad Hoc off the face of the earth…or Norcalblogs, anyway.

    • Juanita Sumner August 18, 2012 at 6:21 am #

      yep, I used the ‘f’ word, and Ryan Olson, geek to the geeks, cut me off.

      To tell the truth, I’ve been pretty disgusted with the Enterprise Record lately, and as far as I’m concerned, NorCal blogs has been taken over by a mean-mouthed old man. It was time for a change.

      Word press is free, alot easier to use, and free of censorship. I realize, none of you are aware of the number of times I’ve received bullying, threatening e-mails from Dave Little, telling me to cut this or that out of my blog or he’ll kick me off. Well, I finally called his bluff, and I’m fine with it. He’s a nasty little prick who thinks he runs something – worst kind. He gets irrational when he’s close to an issue. And lately, he seems to be in Tom Lando’s back pocket, so I don’t expect anything rational out of Little in the upcoming election.

      • Joseph August 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

        Little tries to come off as a fiscally responsible conservative type but his conditional support of Lando’s tax increase proves he’s a phony in my book.

        Lando was hinting that everyone could have whatever they wanted from all the money the tax increase would bring. He was saying whatever he thought he had to say to get it through and Little either fell for it or had ulterior motives.

        I predict Lando will be back with his tax increase next year and Little will be in bed with him on it. And it will be very interesting to see what Little will have to say about the candidates Tommy wants elected on the council.

      • Juanita Sumner August 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

        That’s funny – I was just thinking the exact thing – except the part about which candidates Little will endorse – that will be interesting alright.

        I’m pretty sure he’ll endorse Evans, that seems safe. But who else? Should we run a pool? Set up a tab at Shuberts, winner take all?

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