Accounting- Enron or Gov-enron

July 31, 2008 at 12:03 am 16 comments

by Loraine Ritchey

I hated math, still do ! I was in the experimental class for “new math” in Canada. We were so cutting edge we didn’t even have proper textbooks and for 4 years I was taught differently from every other 7 grade class in the province. It was a disaster and I am still feeling the effects- don’t talk to me about fractions and percentages – I am absolutely useless!!!!

However in spite of my lack of mathmatical expertise I can still see when things don’t add up!

Over the years I have asked – through public records – for costs of certain “less than brilliant ideas” such as the Shawnee casino from the city ,

the Pipe Yard expenditures, and now the cost of the CRA from the county to the taxpayers
( note I started with the county expenses first since they started the whole situation “legal eagles” and all in the first place thus leading to the cost to city taxpayers! I will be checking on those costs as well

I have found that in all “records and accounting “ I am not getting the “real bottom line”. It seems that government ,at least in my experience, does not “account fully”.

I have run Charleston Village 501C3 for 17 years and I can tell you how much each project costs to the penny, both in kind, money wise and hours spent.

When I was the Interim Mainstreet Lorain Director ( now Lorain Growth Corp) for the 7 months it was the policy to break down for accounting purposes ALL costs incurred for each project , the monetary costs incurred, the man hours spent by the Director on that project, number of meetings , postage, phone , printing, office use etc. all were charged off to the different projects.

For example if the Director spent 4 hours on the “XYZ” project then his hourly salary would be booked against that project ( after all if he wasn’t doing that particular job of work in his 40 hour week he would be used elsewhere- it is a “cost”.- granted hidden but a “cost” nontheless Any mailings- even though using the bulk mailer- if he sent out 300 mailings that cost also was noted- same with telephone calls, lunches, travel time and costs. In fact you noted everything because in the long run it showed to the penny what project XYZ cost the organization to be involved.

The Shawnee Casino– Yes! I got the amount spent (the items that actually went through to Mr. Mantini ) but not the man hours used up by Community Development , the meetings, the travel expenses using city vehicles, gas, telephone charges long distance, overtime incurred ( or even if there were any charges) – postage- .the “gift echange” at the dog and pony press party …. Yes! as to our planners and city personnel it is part of their job to research and bring in developers but it is also part of their job to be looking at other projects and without these things being billed to each project we don’t get( in my opinion )a “true cost of what the Shawnee fiasco cost us”.

The announcement followed months of closely guarded negotiations orchestrated by a 37-year-old mayor, a man who was a boy when steel was strong and Lorain’s future was as bright as the flames in the mills.
Interviews and city records reveal a courtship between Foltin and the Shawnees spiced with secrecy, political loyalties and fears that the tribe was using Lorain to leverage the location it really coveted: Cleveland.

The Pipe Yard we have been told that it is breaking even and in fact making money – but is this a true accounting???-

The fields are being watered for instance – do we know how much water is flowing though the pipes. I understand that it is a city park and none of the parks apparently pay for water usage etc. and manpower is of course being used – there is an upkeep – is that reflected?.

However shouldn’t we “know” how much water is used at various parks, how much electricity , what the cost is to run the fountain etc at Veterans Park , Oakwood, and the other 54 parks ( 800 acres)? Shouldn’t that be available at a mouseclick? I would speculate that the expenses at Oakwood and the number of man hours to take care of that park would out distance the expenses and man hours at Veterans or how about Lakeview North??

To be successful and transparent ( in this writers humble opinion) you have to know and account for “all of the costs”. You wouldn’t budget your home account for instance and leave out water and electricity, because there is a cost to someone somewhere, whether it is more chemicals to treat the water etc.
To show the taxpayer just how much it takes to run this city hidden costs and all ,to me, would be a good thing!

The County CRA public records request– I did indeed get 62 pages of invoices and information ( which I will go through) at 10 cents a page – they didn’t charge me postage apparently ( although that was to me an expense incurred because of my request) but I guess that doesn’t count….

However I received the following from Mr. Stewart and I must say in record quick time- thank you !

Regarding your request for any and all expenses that Lorain County and taxpayers have incurred during the course of this CRA action” there are no additional public records responsive to your request”

Because the county too- seemingly only keep records of monies paid to Chandra and Co- not the driving to and from meetings ( although Chandra doeshe counts it in his invoices to us -the taxpayer- ( through the real estate account in the County coffers- He counts his hours and what it costs for him and what it cost for his assistant.) but apparently county government doesn’t. So I guess to get a true accounting of what it is costing I should ask Chandra he may have a better idea……
my  chum chandra
As mentioned in my response to the county-

It is my firm belief that the taxpayers of this county should be able to , at a glance , know how much time , monies, man hours are being used on any one given situation / project etc. Otherwise we are NOT getting a true accounting of monies spent

And I would add city government to that as well. You might be surprised how much time and effort and monies are being wasted and how a project may not be as succesful as you think!

Entry filed under: Brit take, city of lorain, commentary, CRA, notorious opponents of exactitude, personal opinion.

Play Balllllllll! It’s a hit – um batter batter um? How does YOUR garden grow?

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paula Tobias  |  July 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

    So could it be the break even on the ballpark isn’t really even? That the $11 dollars generated wouldn’t cover the water, electricity, city workers time etc etc?
    That type of accounting wouldn’t make it in the real world (Corporate or your own personal budget)
    And doesn’t the “Gov’t” ask you (501C3) for documentation to prove ALL expenses? Why isn’t that required of local/county/state/federal as well? or maybe that doesn’t happen at those other levels |:-[

  • 2. thatwoman  |  July 31, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Paula
    CVSI doesn’t generate enough income for a detailed irs filing although we have to file every January but you can bet that in case of an audit that indormation in kind etc has to be available.

    Grants also require information as to very detailed information. Apart from the fact that the Board of Directors can look at what is costing he organzation, what is cost effective, where there is waste, where there are places for tightening their belts what is working… most non profits are feeling the donation crunch and of course their books are also open to the public it is just good business practice for any healthy and transparent organization…..and in all fairness some of the city departments do follow this procedure.

    I just think it should be across the board so that we have a better idea of where our money is being spent in total….

    I noticed in the interview Henery had with Chuck he mentioned recycle money well that money uised on the Pipe yard wasn’t just laying around and being used for “jungle gyms” it was also used for paper goods etc. etc., used by the city .somewhere in all my “filings I have the print out of other places in the city that money was used for with that source dried up and sent to the Pipe Yard those expenses had to be covered from some other account…. it all adds up
    take care of the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves comes to mind.

  • 3. Paula Tobias  |  July 31, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I remember from one of the council meetings they used recycle funds for carpet in one of the offices because it was made of recycled material.

  • 4. thatwoman  |  July 31, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    YUP!! there were pages of where the money went….from the recyle funds, too many to scan I think I dropped them off at the time to the Bakalars as we were going to do a follow up on that…still I suppose I could get them again from the city – however NOW they are being used elsewhere and spilled milk comes to mind… although it would be nice for the city to come up with the funds for the cemetery fence out of those recycle funds….hint hint hint 🙂 it stil is city property after all 🙂

  • 5. Brian Hazelett  |  July 31, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Nothing like someone taking the “wind out of your sails” when the cemetary project was progressing so nicely, promises were made, then you run into a brick wall.

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  July 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Unfortunately Brian that damned wind has gone over to the other side of the village and is blowing the dust from CT piles of gravel all over the carvings and has stopped us from progressing with that project and “thousand os donated dollars were used there as were the all the private donations at the cemetery .and they wonder why donations are drying up and volunteers are leaving?????? Loraine

  • 7. Brian Hazelett  |  July 31, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    How many hundreds of acres of empty lakefront property they could have dumped the liestone piles, and they would just so happen to put them in about the worst 100 foot by 100 foot place they could put them.

    Almost makes one wonder if they were put there “on purpose”?

    As far as the city not paying out the money that it promised for the fencing for the cemetary, I am totally bewildered why the money that was there, is no longer there? I don’t see how something so simple can be made so complicated?

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  July 31, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    well they were using that area for storage…..trouble is NO ONE told us initially…. reason why the tree was taken and that fiasco
    BUT you would think they would have been “gentlemanly enough” to have at least moved it farther away….but it is just plain thoughtlessness and lack of consideration for others and respect…. gee sounds like a social disease that has hit other aspects of Lorain lately 😦

  • 9. thatwoman  |  July 31, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Insteresting stuff this web I just found my own site when googling at “public records request information” and to quote
    Accounting- Enron or Gov-enron
    The County CRA public records request- I did indeed get 62 pages of invoices and information ( which I will go through) at 10 cents a page – they didn’t charge me postage apparently ( although that was to me an expense incurred because …

    Go to the author’s original blog:
    Accounting- Enron or Gov-enron

  • 10. sue  |  July 31, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Loraine or Paula,

    I am confused.. is Joyce (lately) and LadaLang the same person who left the Council meeting (Early) after reading her statement
    about the Red Light Cameras, or are they two different people that had left?As I say, I am confused.

  • 11. thatwoman  |  July 31, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Sue the person who got up to speak at the microphone giving her name to the council chambers was a Joyce Early .( that should be in the council minutes) On the LC dot com site there was a person giving a synopsis of what they said at council that night – there was only one woman who made those statements that evening . and she made them under the name of Joyce Early that evening…….as for the lalal da! person – well you may think that I couldn’t possibly comment

  • 12. sue  |  July 31, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks Loraine,

    That gives me clairification. I see her name on all kinds of sites. Lala that is. She has alot of issues. I hope I don’t see her on this site.
    Thanks again.

  • 13. thatwoman  |  July 31, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I don’t think you have to worry there 🙂

  • 14. Brian Hazelett  |  August 1, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I don’t know about others, but the whole “it is paid for” and it “turned a profit” was a lie. They can spin it any way they want, but if it is acceptable to spoon feed me knowly misinformation and not have one other elected person demand a retraction.

    Where did the basketball courts go that were at the park? I guess the tax paying public gets to use the porta potty and the restrooms that were once for the public are now for only those that pay to get in.

    Nobody plays basketball at any of our parks? Well at least now at Campana Park they can’t because they cut the poles away and it is now part of the fenced in stadium.

  • 15. Loraine Ritchey  |  August 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Well Brian as I said in all the projects and job or work that the county city and in all likelyhood Federal government undertakes are we getting a “true accounting”- I don’t think I am…. Loraine

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