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Hercules Officials React to Chiang's Severe Review

A spokesman for the State Controller said auditors were unable to locate former City Manager Nelson Oliva to discuss their findings with him.

Just how snarled Hercules municipal finances really are may never be known. After months of work by his auditors, State Controller John Chiang concluded in a that due to what he says was the deplorable condition of the city’s books it was impossible to account for at least $2 million spent during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The review, which focused primarily upon federal and state grant money flowing directly to the city, did not address the financial operation of Hercules’ now-defunct redevelopment agency that will be the subject of a future report. Auditors did, however, hint that discrepancies uncovered in the city’s accounting for the grant money may very well have extended to other facets of city financial operations.

But more telling was the auditorsa’ suggestion that information in financial reports from previous years was inaccurate and by implication pointed a finger at the administration of former city manager Nelson E. Oliva, who resigned in 2011 and is now the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the city alleging fraud and breach of his fiduciary duty as a public official. A spokesman for the State Controller said auditors were unable to locate Oliva to discuss their findings with him.

In fact auditors who examined the city’s financial report for the previous 2008-2009 fiscal year said several “material entries raise questions about the accuracy and reasonableness of information provided in this report.” In layman’s terms that’s a little like the IRS challenging somebody’s tax returns.

See all of Hercules Patch's coverage of the city's financial woes: Crisis in Hercules

Yet it wasn’t the findings of Chiang’s review that upset city officials so much as the way the state controller characterized the city’s cooperation. After months of being poked and probed by state auditors, the city’s own outside accountants and FBI agents, city fathers already knew they had king-sized financial and other problems.

What sent local officials into orbit was Chiang’s not-so-subtle suggestion that city staff had stonewalled his audit team by failing to produce many requested documents and records.

“He should be ashamed of himself,” says city manager Steve Duran. “Why would the State Controller seek to punish the community, which is the only injured party, because of problems created by people who are long gone?” [His] comments are very disappointing to me. I have watched Sacramento ruin state, county and city finances in recent years - stealing funding from cities and counties while piling on unfunded mandates.

The difficulty in locating various files, Duran explained, had “to do with bad past practices” and the crush of too much work with a limited staff including preparing financial reports for last year which are seriously overdue as well as “the Ambac lawsuit, the state audit, the FBI investigation, the lawsuit against Oliva and managing the day to day finances of the City all at the same time.”

Duran said the state’s audit team outnumbered the four members of his finance department. “The final interview with state auditors had a whole different tone than [Chiang’s] “saber rattling,” he said.

“We’re going to find those records and we’re going to give them to the state controller’s office,” said Mayor Dan Romero. “I just wish he [Chiang] had been a little less political.”

Councilman Bill Wilkins isn’t at all surprised “things are being screwed up,” saying “all sorts of agencies” have been storming city hall demanding records, including the FBI which “has taken away documents for their own investigation.”

“We’re getting blasted for not finding the documents,” he said. “It appears to me that the state controller could be more helpful, instead of just playing the blame game.”

Even City Clerk Doreen Mathews, who was tasked with retrieving thousands of pages of documents for the state audit team, said she was angry over Chiang’s statements.

After receiving the controller’s request last August 30, Mathews said she provided auditors with 50 boxes of records from city hall and an offsite storage facility. A week later she provided hundreds of pages of additional documents. This, she said, was not a lack of cooperation.

"We are suffering the sins of our forefathers," said Councilwoman Myrna DeVera, who insisted there was no attempt whatsoever to stonewall state auditors as Chiang suggests. “It’s just that the records are so messed up, it's hard to reconstruct what was going on."

Implausible as that might seem, Patch's own reporting last year revealed that city council members, including DeVera, who was then mayor, were not routinely provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions about the city's financial condition.

Key to this decision-making were annual “management letters” from Hercules’ own outside auditor. Formally known as the “Management Report and Auditor’s Communication Letter,” the document is considered an integral part of annual audits and is used by auditors to address deficiencies found in a municipality’s financial operations.

The management letter accompanying the city’s financial audit for the year ended June 30, 2010 pointed to three material misstatements of facts – in accounting jargon the auditor’s way of saying the information was false. In addition, the letter from Moss, Levy & Hartzheim, a Beverly Hills accounting firm that audited the city’s books for four years before being replaced last year, highlighted a lack of city council oversight on major decisions such as competitive bidding, loan write-offs (some for affordable housing) and questionable expenditures from the city's affordable housing fund.

While Moss Levy underscored several city shortcomings in its 2010 management letter, Wilkins said it was interesting the firm didn’t find the same problems highlighted by the state controller.

Derek Rampone, a CPA with Moss, Levy who directed the annual city audits, told Patch last year his firm relied on Hercules’ own financial software system when it conducted audits, but declined to discuss details of the process even after the city, as the firm’s client, gave him permission to do so. Rampone did not return calls seeking comment on the controller’s findings.

Attempts to reach Oliva for comment were unsuccessful. Calls and email messages seeking comment from former Hercules finance director Gloria Leon, who is now the Administrative Services Director and City Treasurer for the Napa Valley City of Calistoga, were not returned.

Although management letters are public documents routinely addressed to council members, then-city officials had not been forwarding them and at first refused to provide Patch with copies, trying to claim they were confidential.

Although Chiang’s auditors concentrated on accounting for state and federal grant money, significantly their final report did make specific reference to “restatements,” adjustments and inter-fund transfers, something that was a hallmark of Oliva’s financial management almost from the moment he moved into the corner office at city hall in 2007.

Beginning with the 2007 fiscal year, annual financial reports prepared by the city’s finance department, under Oliva’s direction, suddenly became loaded with “restatements” and “prior period adjustments” -- entries used to correct accounting errors and irregularities in previous reports that may or may not have been accidental.

At the same time, the city was able to balance its budget and portray various operations as being much stronger financially than they actually were by using inter-fund transfers – moving money from one fund to another, at least on paper, and describing the transactions as loans or temporary “advances.” On subsequent financial statements the transfers would be reversed through restatements or adjustments reported deep in the fine print of footnotes to its annual financial reports.

“Unfortunately restatements and adjustments are common, we just don’t like to see them,” said Stephen L. Larson, a CPA and partner at Larson & Associates of Newport Beach, who has trained municipal officials in accounting procedures under the auspices of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers.

“Any time there is a prior period adjustment it should be examined very closely by auditors. Adjustments are indicative of a breakdown in internal controls,” said Larson, whose former firm audited the city’s books until 2006.

Oliva’s administration made liberal use of these accounting practices for the benefit of the city’s former redevelopment agency and its municipal utility. Advances and loans between the general fund, RDA, Public Financing Authority and Hercules Municipal Utility (HMU) totaling millions of dollars were so complex and poorly documented that many city officials – including then-members of the city council – could not keep track of what was going on or were kept in the dark and never bothered to ask questions.

“There were so many inter-account transfers, it was really hard to understand what was going on,” former city councilman Don Kuehne told Patch last year.“People assume council members knew a lot more than they do.” Kuehne was recalled from office last June.

City financial reports issued between 2007 and 2010 contained more than 20 major restatements or adjustments, and inter-fund transfers became a staple of the budget process. The city’s skeletal 38-page municipal budget document for the 2010-2011 fiscal year -- the last budget Oliva prepared before his departure – contained 103 inter-fund transfers occupying seven pages.

Only once did the city's auditor publicly address concerns about questionable entries on Hercules’ financial statements related to inter-fund transfers. In the management letter accompanying its FY 2008 audit, Moss, Levy said it had discovered two “material misstatements” that would have impacted the accuracy of the financial report and city officials ultimately were required to make corrections.

Those two inaccuracies involved adjustments “for advances to/from other funds and capital assets,’’ said the auditor, but no further details were provided. According to the auditor, more specific information on the transfers appeared in financial statements for individual city funds, reports that appear to have never been publicly distributed.

Following Hercules’ convoluted money trail is reminiscent of Alice’s journey through Wonderland when it comes to separating real numbers from what former Interim City Manager Charlie Long characterized as “fantasy” numbers permeating city financial records and budget documents.

Nowhere is this confusing flow of money better illustrated than during a four-year period beginning in 2007 and particularly in 2009 and 2010 when the city’s financial acrobatics permitted HMU to transform a $1.1 deficit into a $9 million surplus in preparation for issuing $12.9 million in HMU revenue bonds. Today the electric utility is struggling and city officials are seeking a buyer.

One reason many of these HMU transfers and other financial entries might have escaped both city council and public scrutiny could have been due to the fact that sketchy details of the transactions were not always buried in footnotes to the city’s general financial reports but were contained in separate HMU financial statements. For example:

Item: The FY 2007 Financial Statements reveal

-- A $3.1 million “capital contribution” appears on the books with no explanation of its source or type

-- A $3.4 million “purchase of assets” is reported but not identified

-- A $4.6 million “adjustment” is made to account for an understatement of previous advances to HMU. This correction forced the utility to restate its 2006 assets, reducing their value from $3.3 million to $701,000 with no explanation of why the correction had to be made. By adjusting the amount of previous advances, HMU reported ending its fiscal year owing the city’s General Fund $7.4 million – an amount that in turn was listed as a receivable and reported as an asset on General Fund ledgers.

Item: The FY 2008 Financial Statements saw

-- A $1 million transfer from the General Fund to HMU, a transfer that increased the utility’s debt to the General Fund to $8.9 million with no clear explanation of the $1.5 million discrepancy between what was owed to the General Fund in 2007 and what was owed in 2008

-- A related entry, however, reports an HMU operating deficit for the year attributed “in part” to $1.2 million in revenue losses and a $286,000 payment to the General Fund, bookkeeping that seemingly accounts for the $1.5 million discrepancy in debt to the General Fund

Item: The FY 2009 Financial Statements shows

-- $5.6 million mysteriously appearing on HMU books as a “transfer in” with no explanation of its source

-- A $5.4 million “adjustment” made to correct the overstatement of amounts previously advanced to HMU with no explanation where those advances originated

-- A $4.3 million restatement of 2008 assets, again with no explanation of the circumstances requiring the correction

Thanks to these transfers and restatements, HMU was able to end its fiscal year with assets valued at $9 million, effectively setting the stage for bond sales the next year

Item: The FY 2010 Financial Statements shows

-- A $5.4 million transfer to HMU from unidentified sources allowing the utility to report year-end assets of $8.1 million, just in time for the bond issues in June and Augus

-- HMU also reports just $1.6 million in debt to the General Fund, a substantial reduction from the $4.2 million it reported owing the General Fund at end of 2009, but with no explanation of where it obtained the $2.6 million to reduce that debt

Particularly baffling was the source of the $5.4 million transfer in FY 2010 especially in light of later findings by Municipal Resource Group, a Danville consulting firm hired last year to sort through the city’s tangled finances in the wake of Oliva’s departure. MRG reported its examination found the $5.4 million had come from the proceeds of a 2005 RDA Tax Allocation Bond issue to “reimburse” the utility for past infrastructure construction.

The fact there was little documentation explaining what infrastructure had been constructed, suggests the possibility that the transfer could have been an accounting manipulation used to mask the movement of money from RDA bond proceeds earmarked for redevelopment capital projects into the HMU operating account.

By portraying the money as legitimate capital expenditures, the city would be in compliance with federal regulations prohibiting use of tax-exempt bond proceeds for operating expenses.

“Minimizing the number of transfers would provide more clarity and transparency in the budgeting process,” MRG said in its final report to the city council a year ago. “As an alternative to the current practice, the City should budget for expenses within each fund, rather than having one fund (such as the General Fund) incur expenses and then be reimbursed by other funds.”

“It’s scary what Hercules has gone through,” says Wilkins. “Unfortunately, we keep on lifting up rocks and finding new stuff. We keep on trying to pull things together and keep getting stuff dumped on us. We’re still in a state of shock.”

-Local Editor Laila Kearney contributed to this report.

Kent Von Aspern May 13, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Glenn, although this is my first day posting here, I have been reading for quite a while and recognize that you are particularly opposed to the Safeway development and feel that Dan Romero is trying to pull something over on the people of Hercules. I also understand that the wounds of the previous CC and CM are still fresh and so sensitivities are understandably high. Please don't let one issue guide your reaction to the CC. As Mayor, Dan Romero is the face of the CC, but from my dealings with him he is an honest man trying to lead the City out of a tragic situation. Unfortunately, every time one leak in the SS Hercules is plugged, two more spring up. I stand by my position that this is not the time to cast stones. This is the time to help deflect stones. Part of trusting means accepting decisions made when following the proper procedure, even when you don't agree with them. If the procedure has not been followed to your liking in the past, then let's work on improving the procedure. I'm not just asking that we as a community change how we do things. I am also asking the CC and CM to change. I've read many times that "Myrna is the only one listening to us." Well, this situation is too large for even Myrna's shoulders alone. I'm asking that we call a time out and start fresh, from this day forward. We are asking the CC to include us, and in return, if they follow this procedure, we will support their decisions. And together we will rebuild Hercules.
Giorgio C. May 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
"Time out." Best words spoken on the Patch from anyone in months.
Jeanine Edwards May 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I just have to say as a "regular" person living in Hercules for 15 years I am embarrassed to tell people where I live now. If I ran my own budget like the city did I would be homeless, jobless and under the prison!! There was so much potential in this city. The plans to develope the city. Family friendly - all kinds of families. Walk around and shop. I participated in the planning. Bragged about what was coming. Now- not so much. I can't sell my home. Residents are being "guilted" into paying mo taxes - if you want Police and Fire you better pay. I would love to if I knew EXACTLY where the money was going. It just seems like every couple of years we are asked to pay more for the same things without knowing what happened to the last chunk of money WE agreed to. I hate that there are very few places to shop, eat or play in this city. I spend my money elsewhere. The pickings are slim in Hercules. I try to spend my money locally - recycle my dollar - but when I don't - another city is getting my tax dollars. Our city is in such a mess we can not even attract new busnisses - which is a shame because its a wonderful city that had/has so much potential. Now its a very public HOT MESS. I hope all the audits, law suits and investigations end as soon a possible so that we can try and pull ourselves up. Our city motto should be "Trust but Verify" from now on.
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I. Kent, you're clearly well-informed. I just want to answer a few points: -"you are particularly opposed to the Safeway development..." no, I'm not. Personally, I don't want anything resembling that Safeway and that parking lot at that central location (traffic, plus spoiling the heart of the city). But if the majority of the community want it, then I'll support it. I oppose the way in which this was done, in which a few councilmembers plus one city manager just went ahead and did what they damned well wanted to do, and intentionally excluded the public from the process until it was too late. I don't want the Safeway, but what I really oppose is the process by which it was done. If the council cabal had secretly plotted to let Sycamore Crossing become a wildlife refuge, I still would have opposed it because of process. Though maybe a bit less than I would a Safeway. --->
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
II. ---> -"...and feel that Dan Romero is trying to pull something over on the people of Hercules." I wouldn't phrase it that way. First, it's not a feeling, it's a fact derived from firsthand knowledge. Second, I wouldn't have said "pull some over on the people": that sounds sneaky. The reality is simply an arrogant dismissal of the relevance of public opinion, and an often-displayed desire to keep the public and the will of the community from cluttering up what he wants to do. It's not dishonest, but it's not democratic. Worse, even for those who like dictators, it helps if the dictator has the same tastes as the community he runs; in this case, I don't think that such a congruency in tastes exists. --->
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:56 PM
III. ---> -"Please don't let one issue guide your reaction to the CC." I haven't. There's the apartment complexes being considered for Sycamore, across from Sycamore North; there's the housing development being planned for Victoria Crescent; there is the plan for apartment complexes on Parcel C. That last is particularly egregious. Kent, if you're familiar with the long-lived (until such time as Dan and Steve manage to kill it) plan for the waterfront and the new city, you'll know that Parcel C, located as it is along a major thoroughfare which is fed directly by 80 & 4, and leading directly to the waterfront and the ITC, is an essential part of the overall plan. Parcel C should have retail, retail which would draw traffic to the ITC, retail which would draw traffic from the ITC. An apartments-only use of Parcel C, instead of retail or mixed-use retail/residential, will create a dead zone along what will then be a too-big John Muir Parkway. Such a use would provide some commuters for the ITC, but that's the only benefit I can imagine for dense rental housing in that location, or any location. The disadvantages, besides torpedoeing the city plan, include a large population which will contribute zero sales tax but demand lots of services; and, if it turns out as I'm pretty sure it will, lots of police; and that shift in character of the population of Hercules will degrade the city as a whole. --->
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
IV. ---> Remember, this is the city council which wanted (At least one of them wanted it.) the Bridge project, a lunatic p.c.-gone-insane plan to build almost a hundred units of low-income housing, ALL low-income, in one tight building (think Bijlmermeer)...an instant ghetto/slum/crime center...all conveniently located close to plenty of unprotected plunder. -"...from my dealings with him [Dan Romero] is an honest man trying to lead the City out of a tragic situation." Correct on both counts. Dan is honest (though I say that with less conviction than I did before he began trying to operate off the radar screen of the public), and Dan is trying to salvage the city. He's also trying to build the city in his own image, and that image probably does not jibe with the desires of most of the population...although, if we build enough cheap apartments, he will have more of a population that appreciates his vision. --->
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
V. ---> -"I stand by my position that this is not the time to cast stones": I totally disagree. If we let Dan and Steve Duran proceed with their plans for Parcel C and Victoria Crescent and Sycamore Crossing, then they will totally destroy the plan we have followed for twelve years. Once that store and those apartments are built, once the asphalt is poured and the gas pumps installed, it will be too late. We will forever be El Sobrante with, thanks to low-income housing, a toxic touch of the Iron Triangle. Recent events have shown that the Iron Triangle has already sent out advance scouts. -"Part of trusting means accepting decisions made when following the proper procedure": the council is using (and abusing) procedure in order to keep public involvement to a minimum. Procedure is never proper when used disingenuously, and for improper purposes. --->
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 09:59 PM
VI. ---> -"Well, this situation is too large for even Myrna's shoulders alone.": Correct. And for that reason we must, in November, elect councilmembers who share Myrna's views on transparency and community inclusion. Kent, I appreciate everything you've said; I also disagree with most of it.
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM
...or "verify, THEN trust."
Jeanine Edwards May 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Yes in this case your are absolutly right - Verify Then Trust. And that trust needs to be earned through openess and deed.
Kent Von Aspern May 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Glenn, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I do respect your viewpoints and I think, deep down at the roots, we both want the same things. Good honest people can disagree - that's what makes America so great (although I worry that our abilities to disagree in this Country are being reduced).Our disagreement is centered around the path to get there and who we're going to have drive, so I don't think our differences are as big as our similarities. As long as we get to the right destination, I don't care if you drag me there! Hope you feel the same as long as the end result is what we are both looking for. I wish us both the best.
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Kent, the very fact that you read all the way through my insanely-long posts will make me a true supporter of you for life. You have definitely earned that lapel pin. I kinda doubt that anybody else will.
Susan D.Keeffe May 14, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Chris, I know. The Council at the time never pulled a single item. In exasperation I had them pull an item related to the ITC. They did. Oliva came up with a huge binder on the item. The Council said they had never seen that information. Oliva said he needed approval that very night. So they approved it 5-0. You weren't here then. Some of us have been attending Council meetings and speaking up for a few years now - it did no good. My philosophy now is ask questions, pay attention to the issues and believe no one blindly. I like the above comment in reverse - verify then trust.
Phil Simmons May 14, 2012 at 03:42 AM
G.C. The headline is not accurate.
Susan D.Keeffe May 14, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Please note in the article the many transactions regarding the HMU. Oliva and Co.worked hard to fool everyone into thinking it was doing fine. It wasn't. It isn't. I hope everyone will vote to unload it. The huge drain on the General Fund makes our recovery that much harder.
Susan D.Keeffe May 14, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Kent, As someone who always seeks an objective , balanced approach , I want to compliment you on the high quality of your posts! I hope you will continue to weigh in on the topics.
David Charles May 14, 2012 at 05:29 AM
I will believe our current City Council and staff before I will believe Chiang. Doreen Mathews said that the City turned over 50 or more bankers boxes of documents at the Town Hall meeting. Duran said that the auditors outnumbered the Finance staff, who have a lot of other work to do. Chaing's failure to provide the perspective of over 50 boxes of documents and focusing on the relatively few documents not yet found tells me Chaing is trying to make political hay by kicking Hercules - two years too late. It's good to be skeptical, but critisizing our current City Council and staff seems rather small given what they are having to deal with. We should support and encourage them.
David Charles May 14, 2012 at 05:38 AM
To Red Barn, add Sycamore North, Big League Dreams, stopping work on the ITC and buying all the real estate the City now has to sell - One site was outside the City limits. Also, Belico, Oliva and Lawson failed to bring any significant retail since Home Depot; yet people still defent the "vision" they sold and criticize present efforts to bring in a new Safeway. Maybe Hercules is in the ditch because the blind were leading the blind.
Glenn Abraham May 14, 2012 at 06:58 AM
I can't think of a good reason for the controller's office to attack our council and city hall staff. It's an elective office, but what is the charm to voters of a controller beating up a California town? I can, though, think of at least one excellent (though dubious ethically) reason for council/staff to stonewall, that plus a few good reasons. I think Chiang's characterization is closer to the truth than that of the city. I do not think, though, that this is our most pressing issue.
Glenn Abraham May 14, 2012 at 07:15 AM
David, I mostly agree with you, and I'm not trying to contradict you, but other than Batara, I've never heard anyone defend Oliva's vision. Maybe some Cayman Island bankers are feeling wistful. As for Safeway being a vision, you can view it now, in Rodeo or Pinole (and 400 other locations), without despoiling the natural center of our town. So I do criticize the Safeway vision. As for the blind leading the blind: with the old council-oliva axis, it was the corrupt (and, ultimately, very stupid) leading the ethically challenged, the meek, the dumb, the care-less, and the clueless; with the new mayor-Duran axis, I think it's the stubborn and the arrogant and the tone-deaf, leading the syncophant and the no-mind-of-their-own's. If we want to build a city that the citizens want, and not just the mayor and developers, we need to think of November.
Adam Schiff May 14, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Nothing said here or by public officials changes the fact that the state says our City was not forthcoming. There's a problem with the current administration if that's true. The City Manager told the Council a few weeks back that there were a few minor points brought up by the state at the 'exit interview" now it's acknowledged that information was unavailable. Why didn't Duran say that earlier?
Glenn Abraham May 14, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Adam, are you SURE that Steve Duran "told the Council a few weeks back that there were a few minor points brought up by the state at the 'exit interview"? If that's true, then it is a serious misstatement, and raises serious questions about whether we can trust Steve Duran. I hope it's not true, but if it is, it should be pursued, and exposed.
Giorgio C. May 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Four years ago, it took over one year for me to be given access to the plans for my home and that was before the cuts to city staffing. Whatever system they are using for managing records is not efficient.
Kent Von Aspern May 14, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Thank you Susan. In the interest of full disclosure (and before someone Googles the new guy and makes an issue of it) I should disclose the following: 1) My wife and I have lived in Hercules for more than 20 years. I grew up in neighboring Pinole, graduating from PVHS back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. 2) For the past 3 years, I have worked for HDR - the engineering firm that has been working on the ITC project. However, I have not been one of those working on that project. I was on the project that HDR recently won to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant. I made a presentation to the City Council in March about the outfall pipeline alignments. Unfortunately, my portion of the project has been deferred and looks like it will never happen. 3) Rest assured, my comments and opinions come from the perspective of a long-time Hercules resident, not a company shill. I was never that good at being a "company man." Thank you.
Douglas Bright May 14, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Did Myrna De Vera and John Delgado also vote to "give him a huge goodbye gift with city funds"?
Richard L. May 14, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I'm not sure which thread I saw it on but I think someone said Ms. Sherry McCoy was the former Planning Commission Commissioner? (or head, or whatever it is called). Who was appointed after? Just curious since I didn't know she was no longer in that position.
Giorgio C. May 15, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Day #2 of "Time Out" per commenter's recommendation: Some shakes, mild irritability. Still, me thinks this was a good suggestion.
Susan D.Keeffe May 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Richard, Her term expired and she chose not to reapply. Commissioners go through a written and interview application process. They are appointed by the City Council.
Susan D.Keeffe May 15, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Kent, Thank you! I really appreciate your willingness to put out who you are . Thst means you join the ranks of us who share our opinions without hiding behind acronyms knowing full well that means having to handle the responses , good or bad. I've been here 24 years. My daughter attended PVHS because the Hercules HighSchool was not built. My son attended rival DecAnza as that was where his special Ed class was located. The schools are rivals which made going to the football game where they played each other a challenge. We always ended up sitting on the Pinole side as my daughter was a cheer leader. I am a strong supporter of the ITC and the Bayfront developments. the incident I quoted re the Consent Calendar was actually about changes to the retaining walls by HDR! It was complicated and the Council knew nothing about it but voted for it anyway despite my requesting it be pulled for study.

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