Letter To The Editor: This statement was made by the Brigantine Taxpayers Association during the public comment portion of the last City council meeting on August 5, 2015.
We urge you to settle the issue of the expired public union contracts, by arbitration if necessary. The fact that these employees continue to receive the generous and unsustainable salaries and benefits agreed to by previous administrations is an affront and burden to taxpayers and in sharp contrast to today’s economic realities.
Again, we urge you to adjust/eliminate in the new contracts those provisions covering longevity, unused sick and vacation time, overtime, the amount of the employees’ health insurance payments, wage increases and number of steps. And, taxpayers have a right to know what’s in the proposed contracts before Council votes on them.
Some information about the 2014 audit of the City’s finances and serious charges of, in general, mismanagement of the City’s financial affairs have been made public. This has helped to create a misleading and incomplete impression of the way these matters have been handled. Clarification and correction are in order.
We’ve compared the City’s auditors’ (2 ) recommendations and required corrective action plans for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. A corrective action plan has not net been prepared for 2014. This is a political issue in the sense that it concerns government. Unfortunately, it’s also being used as a partisan issue since it covers years when Council was controlled by the Democrats (2013, 2014) and when Council was controlled by the Republicans (2012) and now again in 2015. Auditors have also changed with the current one appointed by the Republicans, as he had been for 2012, doing the audit for 2014 when Democrats were in control.
The 2012 audit’s Corrective Action Plan, done by a Democrat-appointed auditor in 2013, lists four significant findings covering non-compliance with state laws governing local public contracts, the City’s cash management plan and its general ledger accounting system. There were two findings in the 2013 audit, both of which repeated two of those in 2012.
It’s obvious that both parties and their administrations, with either a full-time or part-time chief financial officer, share responsibility for problems and deficiencies in the City’s financial accounting system. The current Council’s goal and responsibility are to exercise its oversight duty and correct them to achieve a perfect audit for 2015. As an example, Atlantic County government has repeatedly done just that.”
Brigantine Taxpayers Association, Anne H. Phillips, president