Q&A with New City Administration: Part III

Auditor's report, opposition and unions are among the topics of discussion.

Following his appointment and his address to city employees and constituents Tuesday morning, Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman and the new City Council, consisting of President Fran Adelson, Vice President Len Torres, Michael Fagen, Scott Mandel and John McLaughlin, sat with the press to answer questions in the city manager's office at City Hall. McLaughlin was not present at the meeting due to a prior travel commitment, he said. The first part of this Q&A was posted Wednesday and the second part on Thursday. The following is the third and final part:

Have you seen the independent auditor’s report that was talked about before the transition of administrations?

Schnirman: We’re anxious to see the auditor’s report and we’re anxious to meet with auditors. We’re going to, in the near future, be calling in our auditors, financial advisors as really a war council, so to speak, as part of addressing this fiscal crisis, and we’re going to be asking them for their assessments and for their recommendations and their options.

Fagen: If there is a positive in all this, we’ve got nowhere to go but up. It’s just an exciting thing in some ways because you can finally offer excellence to the citizens of the city.

Schnirman: I would actually exercise a little caution, in that we don’t yet know what we’re going to find, and we hope that the crisis, as we really examine the numbers, that we don’t find worse information. And if we do, we’ll make it public and we’ll address it professionally and we’ll have a corrective action program.

Fagen: The disturbing part of all this is that each day since, Mr. Torres and I finally have access, we’re finding something else. To go into detail wouldn’t be fair until we go into the full analysis. We’re not going to go there ….

We have the right guy. That’s why Jack is here. He’s been through the wars, there’s a united council including John McLaughlin, and we’re focusing on fixing the city. There’s going to be excellence, there’s going to be a plan and there’s going to be a restoration of trust. And those are the things that Lenny and I have been howling about for two years, and now we’ve got willing partners and a real credible city manager to get the task done.

Schnirman: As an observer observing two incumbent councilman, it seemed like they didn’t have the information to be responsible fiscal stewards and it’s disappointing to see, as an observer, that the city announced that we’re not going to make payroll right now if we don’t go out to bond for an anticipation note. So based on that, it’s day one and we’re just going to analyze the numbers and get to the bottom of things and we’re going to go where the truth takes us. And the elephant in the room is that, because of the fiscal crisis that we’ve inherited, we’re going to have to make tough decisions.

What opposition or road blocks do you anticipate?

Fagen: You know what, it’s been remarkable. Jack, Fran, Lenny and I, all we keep hearing from the unions are ‘what can we do to help?’ And that would usually be the first sense a push back. Everyone understands that this city was burned to the ground, and everybody is interested in helping to rebuild it. The unions are willing partners now. We’re all neighbors at the end of the day.

Mandel: I think it’s one of the things that even the unions were shocked at the true fiscal picture that we were left with. So, we’ll all have to see how things unfold to assess how we’re going to deal with it.

Adelson: I think when we found out what happened with Moody’s, that kind of crystallized things and got a lot of people’s attention that we’re not paying attention ... It was kind of like a smack in the face, for lack of better words.

Schnirman: When Moody’s downgrades you to that extent, it’s a back door to a tax increase on borrowing. And that’s what that means. And it’s significant. It’s just something to keep in mind that that costs residents more. There are costs to financial mismanagement. And so we have to find a way to get out from under those costs. The nice thing is that we’re all in this together.

Torres: Just to add to that, I think that as a retired person on a fixed income, a lot of folks are looking up to us for help, and basically whatever that means, whether it’s that we try to keep from having a tax increase, that we look at other ways of being able to run more efficiently, to provide the services that we learned to expect from the city. But we also realize that mismanagement has taken its toll. And I think the unions are ready and the public is ready, ready to save our city.

This Q&A is in three parts: Part 1, Part 2.

inplainsight January 05, 2012 at 08:45 PM
but evryone was gung ho for the coalition two years ago and the union reps and their soldiers were happy to receive their raises. how quick does the about face occur!
Mike Charles January 05, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Is part of the new "budgeting" cutting back on East End trash pickups? The Monday pickups have been victims of Monday holidays. Looks like it's all due to poor planning. It's patently unfair and, because of the warm weather getting smelly and unsightly. Maybe the Dems can do something about this one without waiting for an audit report.
Mr Dunes January 05, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Mike, it's tough that budgetting results in pick up cut backs. My family composts daily, we recycle, this accounts for less trash needed to be hauled off to god knows where. Maybe looking into some of these methods could help you produce less trash? Act Locally, Think Globally.
laocoon January 05, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thanks Len, for thinking of the retired guys on fixed incomes. Let's see if you still does when it comes down to another Democrat 50% tax increase vote.
laocoon January 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Yea, Mike, just dump your stuff in the LIRR dumpsters like the rest of the town does.
Eddie January 05, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Sounds like laocoon knows...
Misty January 06, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I understand the inconvenience about Monday's trash pickups in the east end. It affects me too. However, we dealt with it and now it's over. There are much bigger issues.
Lloyd January 06, 2012 at 06:14 PM
What happened to my funny "underwear" comment? Was it deleted?
murph January 06, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Sounds to me like it's becoming the old blame game, hold your pockets because you know who is looking to empty them.
kim k January 06, 2012 at 08:58 PM
There is no truth or transparency. Schniman is seat warmer to fulfill salami/ kohut agenda. All friends and dysfunctional family. Tangney is acting police commissioner. Employment history includes sexual harassment/ shooting of unarmed black youth/ sick time abuse. Larson as 2nd in command-drunk driving incident/ propositioning woman during police stop/ lying to receive payment for college credits earned while working. City council should have read the files.
Candygram for Mongo January 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
A salami agenda is exactly what we need. Everybody likes salami! Good comfort food for the cold winter months ahead.


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