Anaheim Chamber Misleading E-Newsletter
Posted by Allen Wilson on January 7, 2014
The Anaheim Chamber recently boasts that the EZ (Enterprise Zones) was a success due to a recent independent audit in the January 7th, 2014 e-newsletter edition of “This Week in Anaheim”:
The recently published audit of Year One of the Anaheim Enterprise Zone was confirmation of the Chamber’s successful launch and operation of the EZ. According to the independent audit, “the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce have developed an effective partnership and made substantial progress implementing the Enterprise Zone Program, and in carrying out core responsibilities.” The audit’s “assessment of the Program’s first year of operation revealed many key successes” and judged that the “the Enterprise Zone Program achieved a substantial number of its first-year goals, and made significant progress on the other goals. This includes processing 1,417 voucher applications from local businesses, each representing a newly hired employee.”
This is no surprise: last summer, the Governor’s Jobs Czar told the Chamber that if every Enterprise Zone in the State operated as well and as efficiently as the Anaheim EZ, the program would not have been eliminated. This was a judgment echoed by other leaders in Sacramento.
The Chamber stood-up a successfully operating Enterprise Zone in next to no-time. As of December 4, 5,786 job-creation vouchers had been issued – in less than two years.
That is a testament to the City of Anaheim’s wisdom in contracting out the operation of the EZ, rather than running it in-house; the city recognized it was unlikely to achieve as much success, as quickly, as the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. We were able to administer the EZ at half of what it would have cost the city to do so in-house, while deriving vouchering revenues back to the city to the tune of $400,000.
“I am extraordinarily proud of the work our Chamber staff and Enterprise Zone team did in administering and managing the Zone. Today, there are businesses operating in Anaheim and not out of state because of the Enterprise Zone,” said Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jeff Farano. “Today, there are many formerly unemployed and hard-to-employ Anaheim residents who now have jobs because of the Enterprise Zone. That is a real record of accomplishment of which all Chamber members and Anaheim residents can be proud.”
However, the Anaheim Chamber neglects to disclose in their e-newsletter that the same audit reported chamber’s spotty expense tracking according to the December 30th, 2013 article in the Voice of OC.
The Chamber was awarded a five-year contract by the City of Anaheim in 2012 at an initial cost of $1.8 Million, then it was bumped to an additional $1.1 Million for the need to hire more staff at a grand total of $2.9 Million for the purpose of administering Anaheim’s enterprise zone.
The full account of the audit was performed by Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting at the request of the City of Anaheim.
The Voice of OC reports that “chamber’s expense tracking was so shoddy that auditors could not determine whether the business group spent taxpayer funds on other, perhaps political, activities.”
The Voice of OC further reports that “the chamber’s tracking of staff time was unreliable, so verifying the organization’s spending under the contract was impossible”, Ouch!
When a civic organization, such as a chamber, that gathers support from the business community should be forthcoming with all of the facts and not omitting facts for the purpose of bragging rights on the success of the enterprise zone program.
It makes one wonder if the Anaheim Chamber had a journalist in mind when producing the e-newsletter for accurate reporting instead of a propaganda tool at the behest of those at the top in charge of the organization.
Therefore, misleading or slanted information of any documentation such an e-newsletter diminishes the reputation of an organization.