A seemingly routine matter sparked into heated debate at the July 18 Calexico City Council meeting over whether to continue contracting with Pun & McGeady LLP to provide services and annual audits for the city.
The proposal was a three-year $237,000 contract with a city option for two more years
City Council Member Armando Real firmly objected and quoted the city's financial consultant Susan Mayer as saying in a June budget review: "In my career I've never see a city in worse financial turmoil than Calexico--the worst financial situation I've seen."
Mayer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Real remarked he was shocked the council would give Pun & McGeady another contract because the auditors never raised a red flag about financial troubles.
"I'm appalled," said Real. "If I had a CPA (certified public accountant) for five years (that) brought me to the brink of bankruptcy I'd fire him. Pun & McGeady
had five years and something's wrong. This cannot continue."
Yet Council Member Maritza Hurtado remarked she appreciated Pun & McGeady sticking with the city through the prior financial instability and at this point it would be better to stand by the firm.
"For three years we didn't have an internal financial director and I don't think we should put (in stone) any decisions on our financial future,” she said. “The firm has historical knowledge (we value) and now we have a financial director (Karla Lobatos) who understands Calexico. They have been conducting a forensic audit and it takes a long time."
Real made a motion to renew the contract for one more year and then put out a request for proposal to other auditors. Mayor Pro Tem Jesus Escobar seconded the motion on the condition the RFP provision be dropped. His motion passed 3-2 with Pacheco and Hurtado opposing.
Under the agreement, the city will pay the firm $75,000 for ongoing service fees and another $4,000 for the annual audit.