Cal City Waives Financial Services Leasing | New

CALIFORNIA CITY — City Council has rejected City Manager Doug Dunford’s request to hire Andy Heath Financial Services to help prepare the city’s 2022-23 budget, citing concerns about his performance with the city when hired in the past.

Dunford requested the hiring of the financial consultant to help the finance department, which has been without a chief financial officer for several years, as recruitment efforts were unsuccessful.

He suggested Andy Heath for his experience and knowledge of the city, having contracted there before.

The proposed consulting contract was for a maximum of $19,400 and stipulated that the budget would be completed by September 1.

“He thinks it’s a very easy deadline to meet,” Dunford said of Heath.

Heath was hired as a consultant, in late 2018, to help the city’s finance department prepare the books for the audit and prepare the 2019-20 budget. This budget was not approved until four months into the new fiscal year and drew criticism from Council members at the time.

“In my opinion, the budget sheets (prepared by Heath) were unreadable. I didn’t get it,” board member Jim Creighton said when discussing the proposed consulting contract.

Heath has a knowledge and awareness of California City from his time, “but there’s also a certain amount of baggage that we have of people wondering why this particular individual is coming back,” council member Karen Macedonio said.

Mayor Jeanie O’Laughlin also objected to including staffing levels in the contract’s scope of work, as a temporary consultant should have no say in the city’s staffing.

“We don’t need someone to come in, for a few weeks, and say, ‘OK, I want you to do it this way,’ and then we get someone else to come in,” he said. she declared.

Dunford said this item was included to be able to project staffing needs into the budget for next year and make recommendations based on departmental requests.

“We have to learn from history,” said former council member Ron Smith. Smith was a Council member during Heath’s previous consulting contract.

“If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it,” he said.

Even with Dunford’s assurances that Heath was committed to completing the budget on time and within the agreed cost, the Council remained skeptical.

“We’re a bit shy here,” Macedonio said.

After council member Kelly Kulikoff’s motion to approve the contract died for lack of a second, he made another motion to refuse it. This motion was adopted unanimously.

“I don’t want to back you up, Mr Dunford, but I have to vote yes on this (to turn down the contract),” O’Laughlin said.

The Board then approved a motion by Creighton to extend the budget deadline to September 15 and to ask Dunford to hire another financial consultant. Mayor Pro Tem Nick Lessenevich cast the only dissenting vote on this motion.