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City audit compliance low, Erickson reports

Original post made on Oct 23, 2007

Only five of City Auditor Sharon Erickson's 93 recommendations were implemented during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007, 12:27 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Wow 2003, Now 2007 almost 2008???

Lets see the Cheif is out of town, go figure. Has he been out of town since 2003? Does he not have something to work on in the City. Not around for the Flag issue?

Most likely would get a "No Comment or I play by the rules"
And then again I would have to ask, who's rules??

There is a large amount of overtime that can not be changed. Vacation,sick leave and trainning for some members of the Department must be done while on overtime pay. It works best that way or only works that way.

There was very little overtime that I saw in my 20 years of service that was a true waste.
Remember the Sandbag scam? That was free overtime according to the Union President. Though people got paid for it. And if what he said was true, then he asked these people to work without any insurance or medical protection. No coverage from the City if they had gotten hurt.
Funny how we have a rule in the FD that you can not volunteer for any none paid work for the City for this reason? When I first started working for the City. I was in a group of 8. We must attend a Fire Academy before we can go to work on the Fire Equipment for real. Before we go on line. Several of us asked to stay after or come in on the weekend to practice more. We could not do so for this same reason. We were told that if we had gotten hurt the City would not provide coverage for us and that we would have no benifits.
I guess someone was not playing bye the rules when it came to Sandbags?,or maybe the rules change as needed.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
There is much more money wasted in the workings of the Fire Department.That do not fall under Overtime. Way to many Chief, Maybe that is why the Cheif is not in town, he has someone else do his work? or has no work to do?. Way too many programs that money has been spent on that do not work or we do not have.Or could have been done for much less {like a web site?}. Water rescue,paramedic transport fire engines,Station 3 remodel, Hazardous Materials trailer, The list could go on. Take a look at the history of the last chief?
Well all this gets to What are those cheif doing,why are there so many and how do they spend all that money?. Then ask what do I get for all that? Lots of Smoke and Mirrors.... It is like the shell game in the FD's budget{Budget,lol} which of the 3 shells is the money under?
It might be time to start a time line to find out where and when things went down the tubes. Dates,Names,Programs,Cost,Promises, oh and do the citizens even have the program the money was spent on?
I know edit away Palo alto weely..
As the old saying goes,just the tip of the iceberg.
Maybe there is no way to cut much money out of this catagory,for all the money is wasted some where else? That is what I would have to say from what I had seen in 20 years. OVERTIME is just the target. An obvious place to start, if you do not know the workings of the Fire Department. I would take a guess and say, people have learned more about the workings of the Fire Department from me, in this forum. Then you have from any Fire Chief or City Manager? Funny how that works or does not work? Maybe a little about how the City does the same.


Posted by Anna, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 23, 2007 at 2:47 pm

This is a dog bites man story for our town unfortunately.

The city is wasting oodles of our money because of crazily inefficient procedures, waste, and fraud. Our city managers can't seem to get a handle on these problems and they continue to crop up year after year. The only independent city employee - the City Auditor - makes some recommendations to deal with a small part of the problems. Frank Benest and the rest of the management ignores her. We continue to waste money. Jack Morton, speaking no doubt for most of his Council colleagues, says in effect, "ho-hum".

Keep electing people like the current bunch, and we'll get more of the same. Study carefully which current Council Candidates have been endorsed by the current council. And then, do your neighbors a favor by voting against them.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Actually, Anna, it's that City Council has no real way of knowing what is going on in the City. We set up road blocks to that, in an effort to avoid undue influence by individual residents through contacts on the Council, and they backfired. Now undue influence is exerted by individuals, resident and non-resident, through Staff.

The only independent information the Council has is from the auditor, and her voice is the one they hear most infrequently.

Even the Brown Act has backfired. Councilmembers can't keep up with the torrent of paper Staff produces. When residents like Tom Jordan and Bob Moss present Council with the results of their labors, it would not only take courage and diligence to review the material, but also mistrust of people they cannot supervise. Yes, they can fire the City Manager, but the preceding City Manager was also a disaster.

I'd like to see what we might get with a strong Mayor government. There would still be a City Manager, but divided power is often better for representative government.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2007 at 4:00 pm

This thread and others cover more than just the Fire Department. I try to limit my comments and barbs to the Fire Department for this is where I grew up in the City of Palo Alto. A raise and fall story.

Some are just common sense. Not requierd to be a high ranking leader for the City of Palo Alto. I have some experience with other Departments and with other leaders in the City of Palo Alto that I refer to. There are some good leaders left but, I think they must hide to protect themselfs. Most have moved on. Some will not touch the place with a 3 mile long pole and go somewhere else. As with the person who should be,who you really want to be running the Fire Department. He is across the Bay leading another City's Firefighters. A huge loss for the City of Palo Alto.Its firefighters and the citizens.
The topic of overtime in the Fire department was mentioned in this thread. If any readers would like to know more about how it works in the Fire Department? Please ask. I will do what I can to explain what I know about it from 20 years of dealing with it.
A Fire Department runs differant from many, if not all departments due to the 24 hour coverage 365 days a year and the 3 shifts it takes to make it work. A,B and C shifts.Size,location and numbers of Fires for that year. Any large scale disasters etc.
I do not know if some of you have noticed that what I have said in the past on these threads seems to be true or rings a bell. I try to deal with facts and substance. And the bad word common sense.
You can always check out what I have to say?
If you would like to know more about OT as some call it again,Please ask.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Fireman: clearly, not spending enough resources on firefighting is a California-wide problem.

Yes, it's foolish to consider a huge Public Safety building, instead of real resources for firefighting, toxic release control, and police personnel, but that's the consequence of having a form of governmental organization where there is no real responsibility.

There's prestige in buildings. Services are only visible to those who provide them and those who receive them.

If we were still attending council meetings, it might be better. I confess that I stopped going when it became possible to watch or listen instead.

Now the Council chamber is usually nearly empty. Perhaps the video broadcast was another idea we all liked that has backfired.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Carol Mullen and I agree on the need for a strong mayor. That's about all.

I'm not going to cast aspersions at Frank Benest, because he's clearly been hobbled by the egregious failure of past policy makers to properly husband resources sufficient to sustain our city. This includes at least one sitting City Coucil member, and a bevy of others who are happily still in the "inside circle" of PA politics. How does one act on the recommendations of our very capable auditor with the dwindling paucity of resources that this city maintains today. It's a Catch 22.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Mike, the only concrete disagreement I see is that you don't believe renting space for public services is worth the cost in extra flexibility, and you don't share my convictions that Palo Alto would foul up the design of a large building as thoroughly as they did the one they now want to replace.

Buildings can be rented; storm drains cannot. Palo Alto has acquired many basements that are as large or larger than first floors and much more covered space. Both put the city at greater risk from flood damage.

In fact, I do agree with Bob and Tom on most issues, but what I said is that the Council is not capable of understanding the material they present. How do you explain the City's many losses in court on the legal issues they have raised.

I know you don't like paying for the City's incompetence, but you should be blaming the City Attorney and the City Council and the City Manager for refusing to listen. The compromises they refused would not only have upheld the law, but saved the City money.

If you don't want incompetence, you should learn to appreciate whistleblowers. You're trying to have it both ways.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Auditors have problems in situations where they have limited knowledge of the system-under-audit and no enforcement "teeth". In Palo Alto's case, the Auditor is a council-appointed officer, who presumably works for the city council (which in some theoretical way is supposed to represent the property owners, residents, business owners and voters of Palo Alto. We need to remember too that just because the Auditor makes a recommendation doesn't mean that the recommendation is a good idea, or ought to be implemented.

The Auditor could make a better case for her recommendations by providing operational models which can demonstrate metrics of the before/after savings of her recommendations. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is not impossible. Simulations (using spreadsheets or simulation software) are one way to make a case for implementing recommendations. This means a lot of work for the Auditor/Staff, but work is what we (the taxpayers) pay city employees to do. So there is no excuse on this Auditor's part not to begin to look like a 21st century Audit service and provide mathematical models that provide some evidence that her suggestions have some payback to the city.

The Audit of the streets performed in the last year left much to be desired. While she made a number of points about uncoordinated "street cuts", she failed to make a financial case that carried much water. Her audit of the airports was a blatant political document, and her latest audit of the libraries was heavily slanted towards the appearance of the library sites without providing any evidence of understanding how/why things are the way they are. She showed very little insight into how libraries work, or should work, in this document.

Part of the problem could be that the Charter does not allow the council to be involved in the direct management of the city. The Auditor works for the council, so the council can not easily mandate that such suggestions/changes be implemented. So, the city manager can pretty much do what he/she wants.

There are some who believe that a "strong mayor" system will somehow "fix" this problem. There are many walls buried in the Charter which would need analyzing and changed in some way for a "strong mayor" to be able to share power with a "strong city manager" (or whatever role the now-eviscerated city manager would have).

Each council election should be a referendum on the effectiveness of the city manager over the past two years. The candidates who claim "they have a vision for Palo Alto", should be forced to demonstrate that they also have a memory of the past.

It's not too late to demand of council candidates their opinions of the current management staff of the city as a part of the council election scenario.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Lost-Faith: You make many good points. I don't support every suggestion Erickson made. She was, however, the only one to take any stand against the over-sized ambitions and laissez-faire theories of the present City Manager. After the last two city managers, it would take two-three years to restore confidence in the Council's ability to pick a manager, provided they did it right this time.

I suppose the Auditor didn't want to be the one who was fired.

Meanwhile, there's a vote of no confidence that makes any sort of financial support from residents for any bond unlikely.

Maybe the grandiosity that doomed Frank Benest's proposals is what appealed to many Palo Altans.


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2007 at 6:00 pm

> Maybe the grandiosity that doomed Frank Benest's
> proposals is what appealed to many Palo Altans.

Most definitely.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Carol, YOU bring up Bob Moss and Tom Jordan. Just exactly what have they done for Palo Alto at the policy making level, except STOP things, and cost taxpayers money? This is not to castigate them personally, as Mr. Moss has done very good things as a non-profit volunteer.


Posted by Adam, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 23, 2007 at 7:18 pm

I thought an auditor's job was to review operations and make recommendations for improvements. I was unaware that office was responsible for creating strategy and tactics to implement them. That is supposed to be the City Manager's job.

What is most significant is that the auditor's recommendations have not been followed up on. The City Manager either should follow up and use them, ask for more information before preceding, or reject them. In too many cases none of this was done. The recommendations were just quietly ignored.


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2007 at 9:00 pm

> I thought an auditor's job was to review operations and make
> recommendations for improvements. I was unaware that office
> was responsible for creating strategy and tactics to implement
> them. That is supposed to be the City Manager's job.

This is a fair comment, and needs some discussion.

The role of a financial auditor is fairly well understood. These folks look at money, money handling and money security issues almost exclusively. When we move into the real of "operational audits", things become dicey. There are no hard and fast rules, or procedures, for operational audits. To be sure, Audit staffs find themselves trying to stay within professional guidelines, where possible, but the tentacles of any "operation" can grow quickly from a given department into all of the departments in the city makes standardized procedures quite difficult. This is particularly true in cases where "matrix management", or outsourcing, is exercised by the City management. The management of "outsourced" or "matrixed" resources is frequently outside of the scope of authority of the department-under-audit, making it difficult to provide clear cut recommendations which can be easily evaluated for cost effectiveness.


This brings us to the point about making "recommendations for improvement". Yes, Auditors should be making recommendations for improvement, but how does anyone (such as a City Manager) believe that these recommendations are worthwhile? Routinely the Staff reviews the recommendations, but frequently sees the recommendations as only "change", but not necessarily "improvement". Improvement only comes from before/after studies of the time, cost, and service delivery. If the Staff is not convinced, then the recommendations go nowhere. The Palo Alto Auditor rarely performs such studies. Perhaps she could, but she has not asked for staff to perform such activities to date.

This is where the development of the strategy issue pops up its head. Not every professional Auditor might agree with this assessment, but if an Auditor found himself/herself with 5 out of over 90+ recommendations ignored by the City Manager and his/her Staff, then the Auditor should begin to ask him/herself what is wrong. One approach is to provide the payback calculations, the other is to begin to demonstrate how these recommendations can be implemented. It becomes incumbent on the Auditor that he/she has to sell his/her ideas, and these such sales may not necessarily be a "slam-dunk"

We have to remember that there is no hard-and-fast job description for the Auditor. These sorts of people need to be service-oriented, and flexible. The last Auditor was run out of town on a rail, with a cloud of darkness covering his exit that to this day has not been parted for the sunlight to pierce. This Auditor is probably getting close to that same rail, based on her value to the City (5 out of 90+ recommendations isn't very good.)


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Lost-Faith, Mike: breaking the law is never a city policy. Perhaps a common practice, but it can't be a formal policy.

In the legal issues raised by Bob Moss and Tom Jordan, it was so obvious that they were right that I am amazed that the Council is not looking for another City Attorney as well as another City Manager.

No City Auditor could be effective unless the Council is paying attention to the actual performance of the City Manager. And yes, I think outsourcing has been disastrously expensive for Palo Alto. (Not on the level of Halliburton or Blackwater, of course. We must keep these things in perspective. For government functions, outsourcing has become a way of hiding expenditures, diffusing responsibility, and diverting blame. We, the residents, pay for the contractor, pay city staff to supervise the contractor, and don't get to see anything but the bills.

I absolutely agree with Tom Jordan on city parks and on the folly of allowing 800 High to be much larger than portrayed by the architect. That one project sucked the air out of many city projects. The Councilmembers looked ineffective and foolish when the developer threw $250,000 into the initiative. Clearly, he didn't think Staff and Council could win the vote. Even with $250,000, plus Council and Staff time, plus funding election campaigns, the project barely won.

It is probably the beginning of the mistrust and lack of respect for our city government expressed in the focus groups.

When 800 High squeaked through, my first thought was, there goes the library bond.


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Lost-Faith,

You are absolutely correct. To truly improve things, the Auditor should be looking at real problems at City Hall like the complete lack of a standardized file structure across departments for saving paper documents and electronic documents. Next year management is moving all enterprise systems to SAP, but very few staff know how to use it well, and user-friendliness is not even in the vocabulary of that program. Some of the shortcuts still show the German words instead of English. It is ridiculous. Just wait until next year when the entire utilities billing system moves to SAP. I'll bet the customer service reps will quit in frustration. Good luck getting any billing errors fixed.

Carol, I don't see anywhere that Lost-Faith advocated breaking the law.

Look at the list of unfinished recommendations. About 10% relate to the ESC project that was killed dead by Council. They killed the project, and then they approved the audit on the Attorney's recommendation. Why bother? Now there are more recommendations that aren't even needed. What is Palo Alto going to do when $5 million per year stops getting transferred from the refuse fund to the general fund? Goodbye services. Jack Morton asked the question, but he never got an answer. What is going to happen?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Lost Faith said:
"The Audit of the streets performed in the last year left much to be desired. While she made a number of points about uncoordinated "street cuts", she failed to make a financial case that carried much water. Her audit of the airports was a blatant political document, and her latest audit of the libraries was heavily slanted towards the appearance of the library sites without providing any evidence of understanding how/why things are the way they are. She showed very little insight into how libraries work, or should work, in this document."

Just because you disagree with the substance ofo the audits, doesn't make them "blatant" political documents.

There is a real (blatant?) disconnect between what most people are writing on this thread, and the reality of running a municipality.


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:35 pm

> Lost-Faith, Mike: breaking the law is never a
> Perhaps a common practice, but it can't be a formal policy.

Where is "breaking the law" even discussed above?

> I think outsourcing has been disastrously
> expensive for Palo Alto.

This has not generally been the experience of most cities. The PA Auditor made suggestions about outsourcing some grounds keeping chores in the city parks not too long ago. This was a good suggestion in most cases.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:35 pm

I've been predicting a fall off in services for some time, *if* we don't get the appropriate leadership to create new revenue. Anyone can cut services; it takes a creative, cohesive, group to deal with constraint in a way that makes opportunity. The jury is still out.


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:53 pm

> I've been predicting a fall off in services for some time

Since the city has never produced a "list of services", it's not at all clear that have a service cut back would be a bad thing. Some services, like the Children's Zoo, should be moved to a private, or public-private partnership as soon as possible. Others could be terminated to see who complains. No complaints, then there is good reason to stop paying staff who are supposed to be providing these services.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2007 at 12:08 am

Sure, let's just cut services and see if people complain. That would make a great campaign platform. NOT!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 24, 2007 at 8:02 am

I think it would be helpful if City Auditor Sharon Erickson wrote about one of the recommendations not implemented by the City Council (perhaps one a week), explaining again why progress on it is important. Then, people could respond with comments, for or against her recommendation. I would like to hear responses from current City Council members, candidates for City Council and the public.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2007 at 8:26 am

Lost-Faith: take a closer look at the claims of savings from outsourcing. You'll find they are limited to janitorial services, where contractors hire non-union (sometimes illegal) workers at low wages. All cities have lost at subcontracting to former city officials, legal firms, and PR firms. Naturally, those who hope to land those cushy contracts after they leave city service (Kott comes to mind) will report that they save money.

The maintenance of the city trees is not what it was, but perhaps the city is simply paying less.

The storm drain project was not designed to be adequate, and the City Manager failed to get bids for the work as the (limited) assessment went to the vote. The price could have been tied down the moment the measure passed.

It's how I ran my business. How did you run yours? Was everything left to guess and God?


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2007 at 11:36 am

> Just because you disagree with the substance ofo
> the audits, doesn't make them "blatant" political documents.

And just because you agree with an Audit, doesn't make it an apolitical document either.

> Sure, let's just cut services and see if people complain.
> That would make a great campaign platform. NOT!

Little is accomplished during campaigns, except talk. Cutting services is a viable way to determine how much these services are used and how important they are. Most of the services which the Palo Alto city government claims to provide have appeared over one hundred year time frame. It's time to audit the services and make certain what services are provided, how much they cost, and who the constituency for each of these services might be. This is the sort of thing that city Auditors do. The Palo Alto Auditor has not, on the other hand, come close to providing the Council and the taxpayers this sort of money.

> All cities have lost at subcontracting to former city officials,
> legal firms, and PR firms.

Care to cite your sources?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2007 at 11:57 am

"Cutting services is a viable way to determine how much these services are used and how important they are."

Why not start with public safety? Yours is the most retro idea I have yet seen on these boards. Completely nonsensical. In fact, approaching troll status.

If you're real, run for office and see how far you get with your platform...


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm

> Why not start with public safety?

This sort of response is typical of people who are "true believers" but not willing to consider thinking about the issues at a very deep level. The main purpose of government is to provide essential services--police, fire, streets, water, waste water removal. These need to be provided by some level of government, but not necessarily by the local city government. Menlo Park, for instance, does not have a fire department, just as East Palo Alto does not have a fire department. However the residents of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and other sections of San Mateo County have elected to have their fire suppression services provide by an "assessment district" which provides all of their needs at another level of government.

The suggestion to cut services needs to be made with a full inventory of services on the table. It is very difficult to discuss this in Pal o Alto because the current City Manager has failed to provide the Council and voters such an inventory. One can find some of these services from time-to-time in the budget. There have been paid Staff members who have been tasked with providing tours of the art center to kids who do not like in Palo Alto. Hardly an essential service. This is one that should never have been funded in the first place.

Public safety needs a long, hard audit. Unfortunately, it will not happen under this Auditor. For instance, there are very few fires in Palo Alto--so what would be the impact of phasing out a few of the neighborhood fire stations, adding surveillance equipment around town which would provide early detection for fires? With an aggressive retrofitting program for home sprinklers, home fire detectors that are linked to the Fire Department and surveillance equipment around the city and in the foothills to decrease the time-to-respond for fires.

Impossible? Not at all. Would such a plan involve a "cut" in services? No, in all cases, it would involve an increase, although there is every reason to expect that the city government would spend less for the fire department in the future than it is today, because there has been a shift from people-based service delivery to machine-based service delivery.

There are lots of similar examples. People just have to be more open minded than they are now.


Posted by Adam, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 24, 2007 at 7:58 pm

The City Council and the City Auditor should be asked what they think the job of CA is. When I checked recently, the CA had only 4 auditors working in her dept. Yet we get an annual SE&A report which gives more insight into how we spend our money for major services than any prior reports I've seen. It probably could be more detailed, but the office would have to increase staffing to do so. There hasn't been a comparable report for our vaunted multiple service expenditures from the City Manager.

It is impossible to find out how much money is being spent on any service from the City Budget. Read the budget for yourself and tell me if you can do so.


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2007 at 8:54 pm

> It is impossible to find out how much money is
> being spent on any service from the City Budget

Major department budgets are pretty self-contained, such a police, fire, city manager's office, clerk's office, city attorney's office. The library budget, for instance, is difficult to ascertain because money that is spent on the library is often found in the Capital Budget, or in other departments, such as planning.

If anyone is interested in the actual budget for a given department, this can be obtained via a public records request. Not as convenient as just reading the budget, but the information is publicly available.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2007 at 9:38 pm


Fix public safety. Do not cut or limit public safety due to mismanagement. Fix it.
You pay the money,you should get the service


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Lost Faith;
After the budget is approved. I have seen all kinds for funding moved from one project to cover a differant project? How does this work. Is there a record of changes to the budget? Is this really fair or is this misleading. I know stuff happens and plans change.
But how do you follow how good a budget is if it is changed after it is approved?


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2007 at 10:19 pm

> How does this work. Is there a record of
> changes to the budget?

Of course.

The budget is a guideline for spending. Virtually ever department overspends, or underspends its budget. The finance department knows what is going on and the council is appraised of this periodically. The published budget typically has a column for project, adopted and actual amounts. The actuals typically are published in the year following the close-of-business of a given fiscal year.

The City Manager provides the Council quarterly budget adjustments, which the Council will approve or disapprove.

Any general manager needs as much flexibility as possible to do his/her job--a City Manager is no different.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2007 at 11:03 pm

LF
So when the fire department needed to spend extra money to work on the Paramedic Transport Engines, For which there is no working Paramedic Transport Engine or Program in the City of Palo Alto.

And this amount of money might be over Tens of thousands of dollars, that was not covered in the budget.

And this money was taken from other programs that WHERE in the budget. After the budget was signed. Causing these programs to be under funded or not carried out.

This is ok... Why have a budget.

Example: the department had over runs building these fire engines. Instead of asking for more money, Money was taken from the Safety program and others programs to pay for this work.

That is OK?


Posted by Lost-Faith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2007 at 11:40 am

> Example: the department had over runs building
> these fire engines. Instead of asking for more
> money, Money was taken from the Safety program
> and others programs to pay for this work.

> That is OK?

Sorry .. it is difficult to fully appreciate this sort of question without details. Asking for more money may be an option, but without knowing which Year/Quarter you are talking about, and having the total budget of the Fire Department at hand .. it's difficult to say.

Just because someone says "we have to spend this money" doesn't mean that it is necessarily true.

Can you provide any clarification to your scenario and question?


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