Finger pointing and distraction continue in San Bernardino
Smoking gun: Documents show Council requested restricted funds to meet payroll
(San Bernardino, Calif.) Monday July 16th, City Councilmember Wendy McCammack said during a hearing to decide if the should file a State of Emergency and that San Bernardino was borrowing from restricted funds. She stated that she was unaware of the “illegal transfers”.
However in a February 7. 2009 article in the San Bernardino Sun McCammack calls for the city to transfers from restricted funds.
In the article by Andrew Edwards headlined: “SB police, firefighters may not be shielded from budget axe”. She is quoted as saying:
“McCammack said in a interview that she is not convinced sales tax revenues will be as low as projected. She also proposed that the city borrow from other (restricted) accounts to bolster its general fund before laying off key employees.”
“When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes you have to live off the credit card, don’t you?,” she asked.
A March 11, 2009. Press Enterprise editorial headlined: “Fiscal Shame”. San Bernardino City Attorney is quoted:
“City Attorney Jim Penman said, for example that the City might be able to borrow against the $18 million reserve in a (restricted) sewer fund for up to two years interest-free.”
Documents also show that councilmembers knew of and asked for transfers from restricted funds.
In a February 11, 2009 request for council action, Councilmember McCammack requested a transfer of restricted funds to pay for city employee salaries.
In a February 11, 2009 memo from the office of the city attorney, submitted by John F. Wilson, Senior Assistant City Attorney said “Nothing in the Charter of the City of San Bernardino precludes a transfer of revenues from one City fund to another.”
There is proof positive that San Bernardino City official’s new of, requested, approved and transferred funds from restricted accounts with the full knowledge and approval of the majority of the city council and city attorney’s office.
The present interim city manager agrees. “I saw no indication of an order to hide information from the council,” said Andrea Travis-Miller, was hired nearly a year ago as Assistant City Manager.
“The city was seeing very large declines in revenue we were just trying to pay our bills,” she added.
On July 10th the San Bernardino City Council voted to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protections.