Sad/funny stuff from Chris Briem today on the city's longtime failure to adopt a reasonable accounting system, despite years and years and years of pleading from its fiscal oversight board. The city has balked so far partially because . . . it doesn't have the money to pay for the accounting system. (Or is waiting for the state-appointed board to come up with state funding.) Chris writes that there are probably city offices someplace that still use typewriters and I think he's probably right -- it reminds me of the time I needed to get a public works permit a couple years ago, and to check the address/block/lot number, the grumbling clerk pulled out a giant dusty ledger book that looked like it came right out of The Trial.
Once, the oversight board did have money to pay for things (other than its roughly $1m yearly budget that is) -- such as the so-called ERASE study of the city fire bureau, which recommended closing 13 fire stations and implementing new staffing rules that (the city claimed in 2005) would require changes in state law, and basically had "no discernable value."
Chris read through the latest firefighter litigation with the city, which says that the union's last contract codified that the study's findings would be ignored. So much for the great oversight powers of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Here he is:
Lots and lots of money spent on those studies; they were possibly among the most expensive local studies ever done on anything. Yet not only were they not implemented, they were literally erased in their entirety. The contract verbiage you can read there says in a very minimalist way just: "remove ERASE study". You just know they wanted to write "erase ERASE study" which is effectively what was done. Again, what has the ICA been doing all these years that only now are we only now having this whole big pension cataclysm?