Accountability Counts

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Accountability Counts

The average U.S. citizen has serious doubts about the effectiveness and honesty of government. When we think about it rationally, we know there’s no perfect system or perfect public official. Mistakes are going to be made. From my point of view, it’s the lack of accountability that is the most offensive. If you collect money, you must be accountable for the way that money is used. If you make a mistake, you must be accountable for that mistake. There are days when it seems our government spends much of its time wasting money and then lying about wasting money.

In San Diego, a recent audit of parking meter collections has revealed a serious flaw in the system. There is no process in place for tracking the use of meter revenue. That’s $10 million collected last year and spent on what no one actually knows.

According to a new report from City Auditor Eduardo Luna, the city provides no formal accounting of the meter revenue, which is supposed to pay for parking improvements in high-traffic areas.

Maybe the current administration fell into a faulty system put in place by their predecessors – there’s no use pointing fingers.But now that the city is aware of the glitch, it is taking steps to address it. The lack of accountability for the meter funds is a great shame, but taking accountability for the problem is a step in the right direction.

San Diego has plans in place to use its meter revenue wisely and account for how it’s spent. I hope its leaders are vocal about how well their plans progress.

Read the rest of the article here.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Hard to believe in this day and age that this occurrence is complete in context without any mention of the possibility of management’s response and/or the role(roles) of political involvement. Is the department contracted out or operated by the city. How could there not be any oversight? How long was this occuring? What systems are in place both manually and automated. What city department was it part of? Transp, PD, PW, etc? Was there no city council involvement? Where exactly did those $10mil, go? I reckon I could google it but it would be nice if some of these questions answers were included in the story. After 22 yrs managing operations in a mid size city I’m trying to wrap this around my head and all I can come up with is this was a purpose driven operation to direct funds where someone wanted the cash because they couldn’t get it through current policy that was probably written 30 years ago and is now more of an impediment because technology made it obsolete. What better way to get that kind of money from point A to point B where it’s most needed and then feign ignorance? If theft was involved then by God throw the book at em. If incompetence then retrain or replace. If it was an end around to get a much needed job done then get the outdated policy refreshed and recognize the individual publicly for being creative/innovative overcoming obstacles, adapting to the circumstances and accomplishing the mission.

  2. Tony, you’re right, the article was cryptic. The author was obviously not digging for details. What I read between the lines was that the money was probably spent honestly, but no one knows how. That leaves a lot of room for doubt, though there was no hint of criminal activity. Maybe future coverage will go into more detail – we’ll have to see.

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