The Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury issued their 2012-2013 report, which included a very detailed 71 pages (page 85-156) section entitled “Cities of Los Angeles County: Fiscal Health, Governance, Financial Management and Compensation”.
The City of Diamond Bar needs to brush up their fiscal health and best practices, because the city was ranked 64 of the 88 cities for “number of positive responses”.
The City of Diamond Bar was ranked 65 of the 88 cities for “Governance and Financial Management Best Practices”. According to the Civil Grand Jury report defines governance as:
“…the role of the city council in providing leadership for an organization.”
“Key tools of effective governance include strategic planning and management including performance measurement and monitoring.”
The City of Diamond Bar responded in the negative on the following governance and financial management best practices:
1) Performance Indicators
2) Annual Executive Goals
3) Conflict of Interest Policy
4) Formal Audit Committee
5) Updated Policies on Accounting Manuals
6) Fraud/Ethics Policy
7) Formal Internal/Audit Functions
The Grand Jury recommended the City of Diamond Bar to do the following:
2) Develop a balanced budget and commit to operate within the budget constraints.
3) Should commit to not using one time revenues to fund recurring or on going expenditures.
4) Should develop specific annual goals for the city’s executive.
5) Should formally establish an audit committee making it directly responsible for the work of the independent auditor.
6) Should undertake a full scale competitive process every 5 years for the selection of an independent external auditor.
The general demand by the public for transparency of financial matters regarding their local government has been increasing overtime and Diamond Bar is no different, which the Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury has highlighted the various concerns addressed to the 88 cities throughout the county.
It is imperative for the City of Diamond Bar to take corrective action on the Civil Grand Jury recommendations to ensure internal controls are in place with regards to fiscal health and governance best practices.
If no one is watching how their local government spends those tax dollars, then who will. It is best to ask questions now, than later with regrets.
We surely hope that the Diamond Bar City Council takes the Civil Grand Jury key points with seriousness and not brush it off by putting the report on a shelf to collect dust.