Friday, April 10, 2009

Some comments at Pittsburgh Comet to Anonymous. Hoppy Easter

The Pittsburgh Comet: Last Week's Financial Fireworks, Part II

I said 'pussyfooting,' in part because Councilwoman Darlene Harris bemoaned Lamb's delay of an Animal Rescue audit.

'Conspiracy' confirmed with Dowd's desire for an outside agency audit via an RFP, NOT by Controller Lamb himself -- so it would not delay OTHER PENDING AUDITS.

BTW, I'm not trying to get elected. Ds Walko, Dowd, Motznik and Ravenstahl plus Peduto (unopposed) are seeking election wins. Smith and Payne seek votes too, FWIW.

Hoppy Easter, Anonymous.

I don't argue with the math.

To use your example, would you get in a position to owe $400,000 on a house that still needs like $4 TRILLION to fix (ever hear of the rain water run-off problem that hasn't been addressed) and is worth about $40,000?

I argue with the value delivered in light of the price paid in the past considering the costs yet to occur.

I also argue about the delivery of good governance by those in office today as well as in the past.

You should win the argument about the math. Must suck being a bean counter in a time without any beans yet great hunger.

The greater goal is for good government with purpose, not good math by those who deliver folly.

Even More in the thread:

Bram Reichbaum might have posted in part:

People seem to be missing that this is not a resolution tearing up and burning the bond deal, nor is it a resolution declaring Patrick Dowd a hero and a genius. It's an audit to explain to us the risks and the likely outcomes of that bond deal.

Mark - This is the first time I've heard it alleged that Michael Lamb is lazy and incompetent. I shouldn't dismiss it out of hand, because I'm not a financial whiz and maybe Mr. Lamb is simply charming as he gives off an air of credibility.

(Also ... the 3rd party isn't being asked to "govern", it's being asked to perform a financial analysis. I don't see how this is philosophically abhorrent.)

However, I don't see that these are important differences. If we could get a full accounting of the bond deal tomorrow by kidnapping executives at JPMorgan and tickling them, I would be in favor of that. I don't care that the Council should have caught this the first time around, I don't care that it would be better if our Controller to do it. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and knowledge of that bond deal -- if it can be discovered that our vendors misrepresented its terms or otherwise failed to maintain minimum standards of due diligence -- gives us the power to rescue ourselves from that deal.

That's the bottom line. Figure out how to get out of the bad deal, if we need to. That's why I want the audit on my desk tomorrow, when it might be used in concert with those efforts presently coming out of Erie, Butler and elsewhere. It's worth a measly $15K to potentially save the City tens or hundreds of millions. That's a lot of swimming pools. Why not let the City find a way to go back and fix its expensive mistake? It starts with an audit.

Jeepers. This is so far off the mark I should devote a whole new post to it. But, it is Easter and I'm on the bunny trail.

I second the motion that Bram should find the bond deal executives and tickle them. This would be productive even if one blogger gets some giggles.

The bottom line is not for legislative branches to figure out how to get out of bad deals. The bottom line for those who would manage and conduct bad deals with government funds is jail time. In China, it is worse. In historic France it is the guillotine.

Bad finance deals with public money need to be investigated by State Attorneys, DAs, prosecutors, high ranking public officials with investigative powers, controllers even. Then, as findings reveal goofy deals, political hay can be harvested and champions for taxpayers can be made.

A hero's birth would not hatch from $15k third party audits of disinterested contractors hired by a legislative branch.

First, the audit is going to be suspect. It will have its spin. It will be discounted.

Second, the audit firm, with its $15k pay day, is not going to tool the bond finance folks who steal by the millions. That firm will want future jobs, I imagine.

How about we agree to settle on the subpoena process?

More to come about knowlege and power.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Furthermore, it was posted, in part:

there will be an audit of the pwsa this spring, but that audit doesn't look at the bond deals. It simply confirms that the numbers on the PWSA books. (revenues and expenditures).

So, why would Michael Lamb do an audit that does NOT look at the whole picture?

Is Michael Lamb doing a cover up?

Who is to blame for that audit?

Is that pussyfooting or not?

Is there any truth to that nameless blog posting claim?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Then I posted:

Bram, no. Not wait forever. Hell, Lamb's term is up in 3 years or so.

Let's get him in gear.

Are you saying that Lamb will NEVER do his job? You must mean that then.

We can't afford to have different branches of government doing jobs that are not their own after not doing the job that is theirs to do. That's what can't be done. That's folly in the highest order. That's expensive.

The information was at hand, early -- within the city -- within City Council's chambers. Council's duties can't be ignored any more.

If the controller can't get the job done fast enough then he's not well suited for the job.

I don't want wholly disinterested 3rd parties governing. Hell, Lamb sounds like a wholly disinterested 3rd party now if he is doing an audit (as hinted at above) in the spring and won't look into this too.

And, city council was a wholly disinterested party 3rd party when it gave the rubber stamp to the original bond deal.

Even W&SA board members are seemingly disinterested stewards -- as they now seek seats on the bench (i.e., Walko).

Pittsburgh has far too many wholly disinterested people -- so let's not advocate so as to create more of them.