Guest Editorial


Slate financial issues

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Bob WilliamsWe are reminded that the election to recall the corrupt Slate of Trenk, Durkin, Monachino and Spitzer is only some three months away so it’s time to recap their performance. We are now well aware that the Slate lied to us to get elected and not just little white political lies. These guys pulled out all the stops on basic honesty. Cave Creek’s respectable history of honest and dedicated citizens running for office and doing their best for town was shattered.

The Slate’s signature issue, and signature lie, was the town’s financial condition. Their mantra regarding the town’s financial condition included such lies as: the town was broke; the town was buried in debt it could not pay; the budget was much too large and the unnecessary spending had to stop; the town had secret financial accounts; the town did not have the financial reserve it claimed ($3 million or so); the town had a dishonest and corrupt council and a dishonest and corrupt town manager hiding their illegal transactions and financial misconduct; the town never had a financial audit. This lying Slate screamed that they would conduct a ‘forensic audit’ to identify the corruption and unnecessary spending and ‘hang’ those responsible.

Here are the facts:
In June, the Slate passed unchanged the 2013/2014 budget given to them by the “dishonest and corrupt” council they lied about to defeat and the “dishonest and corrupt” town manager they fired. This was the very same budget they campaigned on that was too large and contained wasteful spending. They could not and did not improve upon it. Their supposed financial guru who criticized the budget, Mr. Monachino, now pronounced it as a “fair way to spend taxpayer money.” This was done with no apparent shame from these liars.

In late November, the town received its routine annual independent audit known as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). It was a ‘clean opinion’ which means no significant deficiencies, material weaknesses or incidents of noncompliance and it addressed all mandatory and boring details required of such an audit. Audit results don’t get any better than that. There were no secret accounts, budget reserves were in order, no illegal transactions and the town has been audited annually for years. This dishonest and fraudulent Slate immediately approved the audit, more proof that everything they said to get elected was lies. The Slate had nothing to do with that outstanding result – it was all done by the previous “dishonest and corrupt “ council, “dishonest and corrupt” Town Manger they fired and the competent Finance Director they hired and it was done coming out of the most severe economic downturn in recent history. It’s worth repeating – audit results don’t get any better than that and this disingenuous Slate had absolutely nothing to do with those outstanding results.

Right on the heels of that CAFR audit, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) upgraded the town’s credit rating from A to AA. S&P confirmed and cited many of the same factors the audit did, such as strong financial performance, excellent management (by the same ‘dishonest’ Council and Town Manager), manageable “low burden” debt and so forth. As with the CAFR, this deceitful Slate had absolutely nothing to do with the credit upgrade cited by S&P. Nonetheless, mendacious Slate member Monachino, who opposed Walmart and purports to be a financial guru, was quoted as saying that S&P report “is testament to the fact that Cave Creek is now moving in a good direction.” Fortunately, Cave Creek was moving in the right direction long before the corrupt Slate came along and lied about it and that is the reason for the credit rating upgrade. The Walmart store so vehemently opposed by Monachino and Trenk was a critical factor in the upgrade. The S&P report noted that the recent turnover in power has not (yet) had an adverse financial impact (the ‘yet’ was not stated). The Slate was caught in its own lies and wisely decided not to conduct a ‘forensic audit’ which would have been senseless and enormously expensive. In their first 6 months, this dishonest Slate was buried in good financial news created by the sound policies, honesty and political courage of their predecessors and the town manager they fired, yet they campaigned mightily to take all the credit for themselves.
What this lying Sate has really done is significantly damage town finances for the foreseeable future.

They took over a $7 million (not $3 million) reserve and proceeded to spend it as fast as they could on self promotion and other nonessential items (shiny horses, pavement plans, signs, etc.) not in the budget they ignored and paid for them by fund transfers from essential programs and reserves. They wasted tens of thousands of dollars on their unqualified Mr. Glassman and his mysterious assistant, hundreds of thousands defending the lawsuits they caused and still have the $3 million civil rights issue still hanging over the town. Finally, this dishonest Slate has proposed no action to secure Cave Creek’s economic future and actually foreclosed any meaningful economic development on Carefree Highway thereby gifting Phoenix, Carefree and Scottsdale a key component of our economic future. Recall them in March!