Observant Reader asks a good question – why is city of Chico so quick to destroy records?

14 Nov

An observant reader sent this alert:

I just noticed something odd, and I thought that I’d ask if anybody knows if this is as out-of-place as it seems.

The agenda for the next city council meeting has now been posted:
http://chico-ca.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=92

The last city council meeting was on election day, before the polls closed. The next city council meeting will be the first meeting in December, when the new council members are sworn in. This is the Lame Duck session (for lack of a better term). We have 2 councilors who know that this is their last chance to get things done, because they’re not coming back next month. This includes Mayor Gruendl. The new council is anticipated to be more conservative, changing the type of items that can be successfully tackled.

So what’s on the agenda? Destroying finance records. Say again?

“2.2. RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICO AUTHORIZING DESTRUCTION OF FINANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES RECORDS IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DEPARTMENT Adopt – In accordance with City of Chico Administrative Procedure and Policy Manual, section 11-9 and Government Code Section 34090, the Administrative Services Director requests permission to destroy historical records maintained by the Finance service area over five years old and by the Human Resources service area over seven years old. (The Administrative Services Director recommends approval of the resolution.)”

(They’re also going to talk about shuffling millions of dollars around between accounts, as recommended by the Administrative Services Director down in item 4.2)

The timing here is lousy, to say the least. I expected some spending to get passed, or some policy to be adjusted by the outgoing council. I didn’t expect this. Why do it in this meeting? Why not wait a month, when it would look far less suspicious?

The city does destroy records from time to time. As near as I can tell, destruction of various records have been on the consent agenda 5 times in the last 6 years (maybe more, but that’s what I’ve found; and not in November of an election year). The odds that it would randomly land on this particular council meeting? Roughly 1 in 30. That’s not impossible, but it is unlikely.

Now, I’m not making any accusations. I’m only observing that this looks suspect. Is this a big deal? Should we be worried about this? Can or ought anything be done? Or am I just overthinking this? I don’t know.

I could easily be overlooking something relatively obvious, so you may know something I don’t. If so, I’m always open to learn.

Thanks so much for saying – I noticed a few years back, they quietly passed a resolution saying they could destroy records after only a year.  I think that’s weird, given the stuff I’ve managed to mash into my computer or on disc for years. I also have a stand up filing cabinet in the corner of my garage that has city agendas and documents going back at least 6 or 8 years – why can’t they store stuff? 

In fact, I just found some hilarious notes from a morning meeting, I been trying to get around to blogging it.  You have to pay attention around here, you have to snoop, you have to call them on their bullshit. 

And yes, Orme and Constantin are moving money faster than a pair of New York City street barkers, moving those shells at the speed of light – where’s that dam-ned pea?!  

Thanks so much, I have to admit, I was ready for a long winter nap, but yeah, we got to pay attention. Thanks for the wake up. I will have to dust off my chaps and ride into town for the December meeting. 

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2 Responses to “Observant Reader asks a good question – why is city of Chico so quick to destroy records?”

  1. Jim November 14, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Sure, destroy the evidence before some grand jury gets a look at it.

    • Juanita Sumner November 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

      certainly does look suspicious, I’ll say.

      hope all is well with you Jim!

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