Those of you who are regular readers of the Chronicle know that I have been looking into the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department’s current attempts to change the way tax monies are assigned to that department. The more I have looked into the very limited data that is released to the public– including budget documents and CAFRs (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports)– the more concerned I have become that APR is not conforming to the accounting practices mandated by the City Charter and the Municipal Code. I have found numerous inconsistencies in the numbers that have been reported to the public.
I am still in the midst of my investigations, and will have more to report to the public in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, I am sure of one thing: the Charter and the Code mandate monthly reports from Parks and Recreation to the Mayor and the City Council. Those reports are not currently being supplied as required by law.
Since all city accounting is done on computers, it will be no burden on staff for such reports to be generated. The citizens deserve to know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent– it is mandated by law.
With that in mind, I have petitioned the City Council to require those reports and make them available to the public. This grievance procedure is also included in the City Charter. So here for your information, is my petition to the City Council. If you agree that this information should be made public, feel free to contact all of the Councilors at the unified address email@example.com
You can find the City Charter at https://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=156
You can find the Ashland Municipal Code at https://ashland.municipal.codes
Madam Mayor and Esteemed Councilors:
WHEREAS Article XIX Park Commission Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Ashland states:
It shall be the duty of said Commission and they shall, at the beginning of each month, file with the City Recorder for the information of the City Council and the public, a report of their doings for the preceding month. Such report shall specify all funds on hand and the source from whence obtained. It shall carry a clear statement of all monies expended and for what purpose. All purchases made and all labor performed, together with the cost thereof, shall be embodied in said report. And
WHEREAS AMC Chapter 2.16.060 states:
The Recreation Commission shall make full and complete monthly and annual reports to the Mayor and City Council; and such other reports as from time to time may be requested of them by the Mayor and City Council. And
WHEREAS Article XXII Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Ashland states:
Any funds to be spent by the Recreation Commission for recreation purposes shall be from such funds as may be appropriated from time to time by the City Council, and in no event shall any funds be spent for recreation purposes that are received pursuant to Article XIX of this Charter and which relates to the Park Commission and a levy for park purposes. And
WHEREAS AMC Chapter 10.68.030 states:
The Park Commission of the City is authorized to make such rules and regulations not in conflict with the ordinances of the City as it may think necessary for the better control and management of the parks. If any person feels aggrieved by any such rule or regulation, such person may appeal to the Council for its amendment or repeal by filing with the City Recorder, a petition which shall be presented to the Council at its next regular meeting, but until amended or repealed by the Council, such rule or regulation shall be in full force and effect as if it were an ordinance. And
WHEREAS Article VII Section 8 of the Charter of the City of Ashland states:
Before entering upon the duties of his/her office, each officer shall take an oath or shall affirm that he/she will support the constitutions and laws of the United States, the State of Oregon, and the Charter and laws of the City of Ashland, and that he/she will faithfully perform the duties of his/her office. And
WHEREAS the reports delineated above are not being produced as required. And
WHEREAS examination of recent CAFR and Budget documents indicate that the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department and Commissions may not be utilizing public funds legally and lawfully as prescribed in Article XXII Section 3,
THEREFORE, I, a taxpayer and resident of the City of Ashland, do hereby petition the city Council to enforce the aforementioned sections of the Charter and the Code, and instruct the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission to produce said monthly reports and make them available to the Mayor, the Council, and to the public, starting immediately.
FURTHERMORE, I call upon the City Council, the City Manager, and the Finance Director, with the assistance of an independent certified accountant, to examine and investigate the assignment and utilization of all public funds by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department and the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission.