Sunday, February 15, 2015

City's Stance on COSADC Audit

City Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer requested Council consider making public the Development Corporation audit of economic development agreements.  Traditionally, this task has been accomplished by internal staff and published in an Annual Report to the community.  The City of San Angelo Development Corporation last released its 2012 annual report in late 2013.  The public has seen no information to know how company's have fulfilled their employment promises in return for public subsidies. 

COSADC board members and City Council officials publicly mentioned the audit numerous times as it meandered through the recommendation, negotiation, contract award, completion and presentation stages.  However, the findings were never shared, not event an executive summary. 

Now several members of the public believe it should be shared.  One even asked the city for a copy of the document via a public information request.  Council meets Tuesday and this item is not on the agenda. 

Six years ago this information was not a secret.  Development Corporation minutes from January 28, 2009 stated:

Ms. COSADC Executive Director Kathy Keane reviewed the audit report and noted the correction on Conner Steel which should read approved on February 9, 2006. A copy of the handout is part of the permanent supplemental record.

Responding to a question from Dr. Rallo, Mr. Hiebert stated any used balance resulting from the recipient not meeting the objectives of the contact or nearing termination of their contract will be presented to board for further direction including a reallocation to fund balance.

Ms. Keane stated the report will be forwarded to City Council and the City’s external auditor.

Mr. Tommy Hiebert served as President of the Development Corporation at the time.  Hiebert was reappointed to the board in July 2013 representing SMD2.  Councilwoman Farmer may wish to ask Mr. Hiebert what changed?  Why would information formerly available to the public be restricted?

Shortly after Hiebert's reappointment city staff conducted a new member orientation

The program addressed public information.

City leaders stated all records.  There's not a qualifying word on the page.  We'll see if "all" really means all.

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