-By Dan Romero
Hercules has been under turmoil for the last eighteen months with the recall election last June 2011, hiring of a new city attorney in September and city manager in October and the recent hiring of our new finance director in April 2012. Last June due to budget cuts the Hercules staff was reduced by forty percent, with the remaining staff taking a fifteen percent reduction in pay and hours.
Our finance department was reduced from nine permanent employees to four. During the audit two senior account techs left for other jobs. The current city staff is close to job burnout but continue to give the citizens of Hercules exemplary service.
Also, during that same time period our current auditors were conducting their own internal audit in addition to complying with a federal agency’s request for documents for their investigation.
The City of Hercules fully intends to search for the documents requested by the Controller’s office. The State Controller was actually conducting four audits: the gas tax. State grants, federal grants and accounting procedures.
During the audit that was conducted in the fall of 2011, the City of Hercules turned over fifty two boxes of documents to the state auditors. The Hercules staff also complied with a second request and a third request for documents. I feel that the monies in question were spent properly and in accordance with accounting requirements.
In order to respond to the state auditors request for documents, I will be asking the finance subcommittee and the adhoc finance committee to meet and go through the fifty two boxes of documents to search for the documents that the state controller’s office requested. There are four accountants who are members of our adhoc finance committee and should have the experience to assist in finding the requested documents.
Our local state legislators have all helped the City of Hercules and I had hoped that the state controller would have understood what has happened in our city. Our plight has been well documented by the media and with the help of local state legislators Hercules will be able to stand tall again.
I don’t want to cast blame on the past, but this current council wants to resolve past issues and be accountable to all agencies.