Hercules City Manager Steve Duran has answered the findings of a released by the state controllers office on Wednesday. He said the city has been cooperative with state request for information in an atmosphere of city layoffs, lawsuits and various investigations into city fiscal affairs.
Duran's response came in reply to a request for comment by the Contra Costa Times and it was sent also to Patch. This is Duran's reply:
I don’t have any issues with the 2009-2010 findings. It confirms what I have been finding since I got here last October. The only bone I have to pick is that I do not think our staff was uncooperative in the first seven months of the audit; they were simply overwhelmed with layoffs, investigations, lawsuits, etc. Since we brought on Nickie Mastay as Director of Finance in March, she along with Liz Warmerdam, Doreen Mathews, our staff and community volunteers have cleaned up the accounting and other records. This enabled the Caltrans auditors, which followed the Controller’s Office, to find that we are quite capable of managing state and federal grants. That led to almost $10 million in funding for the Intermodal Transportation Center project.
The books being in good order is a big positive. We have come a long way in a short time; but we have much further to go before the City can be considered financially strong. We have to complete the sale of the properties under contract and get retail development going on Sycamore Crossing with Safeway and also on Market Hall when the owner settles on a developer. We also need to make sure that we stay focused on the City’s finances as our number one priority.