Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tax Rebate Forensic Auditor Required

That seeming $10M discrepancy I mentioned between the amount claimed that the City would save during the CUPE strike--$30M--and the actual savings--$20M--is just too big to ignore.

Something is very suspicious here that needs checking out. I need to find a skilled auditor who understands municipal bookkeeping who can help me out at a cost that I can afford. Or perhaps CUPE can retain one for the fun of it.

It should not be a problem at all because our Mayor, Edgar (aka Eddie), told us we could do so back on April 28:
  • "City to rebate strike savings; Each household to get cash back, says mayor

    Mayor Eddie Francis said Monday Windsorites will get back any dollars saved by the city during the strike by municipal workers.

    "The city does not need the money and we do not need a strike to save money," Francis said. "Our proposal would be to return those dollars to each household."

    It's been estimated the city is saving about $300,000 per day on payroll costs during the strike by 1,800 inside and outside workers that started just under two weeks ago.

    The mayor's comments came in response to accusations by CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan that the city was using the strike to save dollars and balance the 2009 budget.

    Whenever the strike ends, city administrators will determine the payroll savings, subtract the city's management overtime and other strike-related costs and give back the rest to homeowners, the mayor said.

    "We are not going to use this money to fill a hole in the budget," Francis said. "There will be an independent and side account. Any net dollars will not go to the 2009 budget or our reserves, but back to ratepayers as a rebate..."

    When asked how residents can be assured what the city saves during the strike is accurately reflected at the end, Francis responded: "There will be a full accounting. If you want to come in and audit it, you are more than welcome."

By the way, I have not seen that "independent and side account." Have you?

In any event, a promise is a promise and has to be kept. As Councillors and Edgar have said with respect to the rebate:

  • "There's a Christmas cheque in the mail from the city -- every ratepayer, from smallest homeowner to Casino Windsor and Chrysler HQ, will be getting $72 mailed to them courtesy of city council.

    "This avoids the stereotype that politicians don't follow through with what they promise," Coun. Drew Dilkens said following the Monday night vote."

  • From early on in the 101-day civic strike, Mayor Eddie Francis and council had promised that any savings from the strike would be passed back to ratepayers...

    Francis said council owed the money to ratepayers now"

  • "But don't hold your breath. Mayor Eddie Francis isn't about to backtrack on the commitment he made early in the strike that city residents would be reimbursed from any savings accrued during the work stoppage.

    "People are hurting. People need the money. It's a significant amount of money that could pay a bill. It's a simple concept. If we're not using this (tax) money, we should be giving it back to the residents," insisted Francis."

  • "Yeah. It's a missed opportunity. I can't argue that the dollars wouldn't be better spent on a project. But that would wreak havoc," Brister warned.

    The problem, he said, is that it's now built into people's mindsets that they're going to see the money and all hell would break loose if the city fails to deliver on that commitment. "It's late in the game. A promise was made. And now it's a credibility issue and we've got to do it," he explained. "That train has left the station."

Now whom can I use to do that audit? One of the major accounting firms could be used other than those used by the City or another municipality so that could cut down the possibilities. There are some specialized forensic accounting firms who could do this type of work.

Regardless of which firm was used, I bet we are talking fees in the 6 figure range. And the firm would have to understand municipal books. Frankly, for a $72 rebate cheque that is a big sum for me to pay unless I can find thousands of other Windsorites who would send me their rebate cheques to help pay for the fee.

What to do? What to do?

Silly me. I got it! The answer has been staring me in the face all the way along. There is only ONE person who is perfect for the job and he would have a personal interest in being retained by me.

He would understand how to do a forensic audit because he has done that kind of work before. He would understand City books given his background. He would know to whom he should speak at Finance Dept. based on his expertise. No one could pull the wool over his eyes even though they have tried in the past.

Of course he is good. He has been smeared! They are terrified of him and what he could expose.

Sure his work for me might be “disjointed” and some of the conclusions Might "not supportable.” But can you imagine, "I guarantee if [I] release that report it will create more brouhaha than you ever want to see."

The BLOGMeister rules. I am calling up to retain as my Auditor for the strike savings: