Don’t let the Headlines , Bond error leaves Lowell large ‘free cash’ deficit , quotes and biased coverage fool you, there is plenty of questions and finger-pointing to go around regarding the Bond Issue or lack of issuing of bonds.
There is no denying the inactions of Treasurer Elizabeth Craveiro. She screwed up but where was her boss and did Lowell have a system in place that Healy either didn’t know , understand or miss?
Where was the “Acting CFO”? You would think that a man with the Experience of Bob Healy who according to Manager Murphy was looking at the existing and next years budget when he came aboard April 16th would have caught the fact between April and the end of the Fiscal in June that the City had debt they hadn’t bonded. Did he purposely ignore that? Did he “miss it” and if he did, how comfortable should this Council be with his budget figures and projections?
It is my understanding that by statute the treasurer has the authority to borrow. In any community with a CFO or finance director (who by,either supervises the treasurer or in smaller cities can be the treasurer himself) oversees the process even though the treasurer signs the borrowing documents.
In Lowell, the CFO was the person who coordinated all the borrowing activity, including determining how much should be borrowed and when. I am told he actually maintained a running “dashboard” of current capital projects in an excel spreadsheet
The object is to cover cash deficits in capital funds by June 30. The sheet has The note (and/or bond, depending on term) column of what was planned to borrow. Some deficits in the enterprise funds are covered by state revolving loan funds (SRF) and don’t actually need to be covered as long as you request the funds from the state by the end of the year. I am told that the Data Analysis knew of this sheet and how it was used.
The question is, did the Acting , now consultant CFO know about it and if NOT why not? and why didn’t he react to the apparent appearance of debt?
Surely he did not let this slide for political reasons so the Manager could justify replacing the Treasurer? What are the odds ANY City Councilor will ask Mr. Healy that next Tuesday?
In the Organizational Chart, doesn’t the Treasurer report directly to the CFO? Will any City Councilor ask this Manager why Mr.Healy or for that matter the Data Analysis didn’t notice that we had unfunded debt because we didn’t issue bonds? They claimed that they were looking at last years budget and Murphy touted the fact he put a “hiring and spending” embargo in place. So why and how did this get missed by the Treasurer and her Boss the highly paid acting, well respected CFO?
Funny you would think the SUN would be asking these questions..but wait, this gives Campy and Lyle to the chance to once again prove by point about their biased toward the Lynch Administration and again they don’t disappoint. No mention that Healy has been tied at the hip with Murphy since he started in April and missed something as simple has the non issuing of bonds to cover debt.
Let’s not forget that this Treasurer wasn’t the first choice of either Manager Lynch or CFO Tom Moses. That man was Greg Labrecque and it was because of Manager Murphy’s so-called “little brother” that Mr. Labrecque left the City after one week. Councilor Elliot put his own ego/agenda over common sense and what was best for the City and had the nerve with a straight face to question the “friendship” between CFO Moses and the Mr. Labrecque. (Yet Elliot votes a full salary for an inexperienced Manager who has been HIS FRIEND for 30 years).
Maybe if the Council hadn’t allowed and participated in some instances, the character assignation of good experienced people, they all wouldn’t be out the door because of the atmosphere they created and this wouldn’t have happened.
The Council can claim some of the blame themselves for the protracted, embarrassment of a hiring process that was used when hiring a new Auditor after Chery Wright left. They should also ask the “Acting Auditor” why, during her time of filling in, she never noticed this?
Is this the first instance of the inexperienced Financial Team the City Council / Manager have put in place?