Whichever faction is in power in Culver City, the government operates the same way. Perception is everything. But that comes with real and hidden costs to taxpayers.
At Monday’s City Council Meeting, I tried to put my skills at ferreting out fraud, waste and abuse to work on behalf of Culver City’s taxpayers. I have honed those skills over 50 years, commencing as the Compliance Director of a New York Stock Exchange Member Firm. Using those skills is my way of giving back to the community.
I contested paying a vendor’s $32,300 invoice. The invoice very vaguely describes services allegedly rendered, but seems to involve billing for services that were long-ago performed and previously paid in full. The suspicious situation warrants delaying payment until the City Attorney investigates my well-documented allegations. My efforts were throttled by a tag-team—the City Council and a few senior city managers. Perhaps, there was concern that an investigation would reveal systemic problems.
One hand washes the other. Those senior managers receive exorbitant and increasing salaries and benefits that do not reflect their lack of abilities. The City Council has the power to remedy that mismatch, but has chosen not to use it. The City Council has publicly stated that it has no interest in accountability—onward into the future, no looking back. This attitude is the root of the problem.
On the other hand, City Council relies upon the senior managers to fund, and not to question, its travel and other expenses, along with its half-baked ideas, e.g., spending over $200,000 studying Wile E. Coyote’s daily bowel movements. Further, to avoid political repercussions, the City Council relies upon the senior managers to deliver only good news and suppress bad news. For instance, if a resident reveals an impropriety, the senior managers tell City Council members that the resident is mistaken—”I got your back, Jack.” The City Council readily agrees.
Until the City Council takes its fiduciary duty seriously and musters up a little courage, taxpayers—you and I—will pay for this governmental charade. Remember that when the City Council seeks to raise our taxes, again.
Les Greenberg, Esquire