Monday, November 04, 2013

Inspector General Interviews. By Geniusofdespair

The meetings to interview a replacement for retiring Chris Mazzella started October 4th.  I went to the first interview session and blogged about it.  The questions they asked the candidates are below. I suppose they are now considering who to hire. I don't have much hope we will get someone as good as Chris.

Questions asked of applicants, the last one they should have asked!

Committee reviewing applicants for IG job.

Here is an example of  how MIAMI DADE COUNTY ignored the IG's good advice and audit in the past to get us some revenue from the American Airlines Arena ---AS PROMISED BY THE HEAT IN THE COUNTY AGREEMENT WITH THEM FOR THE FREE LAND. Miami Dade doesn't have money for libraries but they make excuses for the Miami Heat's non-payment (see Lester Sola's press release) even though the team is flush with money:

To: Hon. Carlos A. Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County Hon. Joe A. Martinez, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners and Members, Board of County Commissioners
From: Christopher Mazzella, Inspector General
Date: October 31, 2012
Subject: 0G Audit of the Agreements Between Miami-Dade County and Basketball Properties, Ltd.,, to Operate the American Airlines Arena; Audit Close-out, Ref. IG11-34
RE: Miami-Dade County's Response to OIG Item 23 Letter-OIG Audit Report IG11-34 Audit of the Agreements Between Miami-Dade County and Basketball Properties, Ltd., et. al. to Operate the American Airlines Arena

The audit-identified questioned expenses include: $614,000 paid to lobbyists, $12,300 for political contributions, $17,500 for charitable contributions, and $24,300 for non-arena related memberships and dues. ISO states that it believes that the OIG-identified questioned costs are, in its opinion, legitimate business expenses that are reasonable and customary. For the current fiscal year 2013, ISO has approved BPL's budget for these items totaling $326,684-$294,000 for lobbyist fees, $5,000 for charitable contributions, and $27,684 for membership fees/dues. Moreover, ISO states that it will allow BPL to continue to include the salary of a BPL vice president, as an operating cost, notwithstanding the fact that executive compensation is an unallowable Arena operating expense, pursuant to the Agreements. We reaffirm our position that the subject expenses are not appropriate given the nature and the terms of the County's business arrangement with BPL. In addition, ISO states that it met with the County Attorney's Office to discuss what comprises executive compensation and will not be pursuing this issue. As you recall, this audit was partially predicated on the fact that Arena net operating revenues have never exceeded the threshold triggering profit sharing between BPL and the County. In other words, since its inception, the County has yet to receive any portion of profits from the Arena, despite the fact that profit sharing was a major selling point for the approval of the Arena deal. This condition has been prolonged because of BPL's debt liabilities-i.e., related party loans-which BPL has been paying off for the last several years. These loans were necessitated by operating deficits-expenses exceeding revenues. The audit-identified questioned expenditures directly added to the deficits. Our recommendations for the County to negotiate credit adjustments to the Schedules of Management Agreement Computations would bring the County closer to eliminating the deficit gap sooner and, thus, bring the County nearer to realizing profit sharing. In closing, we are encouraged that our audit has resulted in the implementation of
administrative controls that promote fiscal prudence. The OIG considers this audit closed but unresolved, with regards to the two discussed issues.

press release

Mr. Mazzella:
I am in receipt of your letter dated September 27, 2012 regarding the County's position on issues found in item 23 of our response to the OIG's final report. We have met with Basketball Properties Limited BPL representatives on several occasions to discuss a number of issues including those outlined in your letter. The County has reviewed the expenses associated with lobbyist's fees, political contributions, charitable contributions and memberships/dues and have concluded that they are legitimate business expenses allowed under the current agreement.Therefore, we will not be challenging these past charges.
For the Arena's 2012-2013 fiscal year, the County has approved operating expenses for lobbyist fees $294,000 and requested appropriate back-up to justify actual expenses, charitable contributions $5,000 andmemberships dues $27,684. We feel these expenses are reasonable and customary for an operation such as the Arena. Finally, we met with the County Attorneys' Office to discuss the issue of bonuses, incentive payments and commissions as they relate to the agreements. Based on these discussions and our review, we will not be pursuing this matter at this time. Should you have any questions, please contact me at 305-375-2363.
Lester Sola, Director
MDC Internal Services Department

press release


Anonymous said...

As long as it is not Murawski, I have hope.

Damon said...

This was a great comment from your other article. Worth reposting.

"If someone ordered me to conduct an extensive investigation of my coworkers to find the whistle blower who leaked info on the boss' affair, I would hold a press conference and resign in protest. Why didn't we hear Murawski denounce the inappropriate order instead of carrying it out? Where was his backbone? Where was his integrity?

What if Murawski became IG and a commissioner told him not to investigate someone or something? Or what if he was ordered to harass fellow employees without justification like he harassed his coworkers with his under oath interrogations?

Based on Murawski's track record, we know he will do whatever he is told even if it is inappropriate. He lacks integrity and he is not fit to be our Inspector General."

Geniusofdespair said...

They should have had a question:

How are you going to react when we totally ignore your advice and audits.

Al Crespo said...

My bet is that Michael Murawski will become the next IG. This will be the Hat Trick. Fernandez-Runle as State Attorney, Centorino in charge o Ethics and Murawski as the IG.

Like any good organized crime organization, the thing you need to do to insure unfettered control is have complete control over law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes and yes.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on attending this meeting. It is what the Miami Herald should be doing, if it wasn't so focused on year end performance bonuses for key executives and meeting pension requirements of past publishers.

Cato II said...

Were you aware that Chris Mazzella spent taxpayer money buying electronic surveillance equipment, the kind that only law enforcement agencies are supposed to use? Not many people do. Electronic eavesdropping is only supposed to be done after getting a warrant from the Circuit Court. Mazzella never got any. The Inspector General's Office is supposed to be an auditor on steroids, not a way for real law enforcement agencies to get around the law. Mazzella, for all the good that he did, never adjusted to the fact that he was no longer an FBI agent.

Anonymous said...

The agencies within Miami Dade cannot do their job properly because the Miami Dade Commissioners are constantly, calling these agencies heads to make request for their friends and create problems for their enemies or people they think are enemies that cause them trouble. The BCC has power over these agencies money and job security.
We need to have someone introduce that BCC stay away from these agencies and leave it up maybe the county manager after we do away with mayor/county manager form of government. The commissioners call the Ethics, Tax Assessors, County Law Officials, and Directors for favors on hiring, firing and demotions.
Its Miami Dade County Commissioners gone WILD!

Anonymous said...

"In other words, since its inception, the County has yet to receive any portion of profits from the Arena, despite the fact that profit sharing was a major selling point for the approval of the Arena deal." MDC OIG

Anonymous said...

A. No Commissioner shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his or her removal from, office by any subordinate of the Mayor, or take part in the
appointment or removal of officers and employees in the administrative services of the County, nor shall any subordinate of the Mayor accede to such direction or request.

B. Except where otherwise prohibited by Ordinance, Commissioners shall be permitted to communicate and make inquiries of the administrative services for the purpose of transmitting constituent inquiries or assisting Commissioners in the exercise of their powers as set forth in Sec-
tion 1.01A. Except as provided elsewhere in this Charter,
Commissioners shall not be permitted to give orders, either
publicly or privately, to any subordinate of the Mayor.
No County employee or official, other than the County Mayor or his or her designee, shall respond to or undertake any action to comply with any request by any
Commissioner which violates the provisions of the preceding paragraph. The County Mayor shall not knowingly allow any Commissioner to deal with the administrative services in violation of the provisions of this section.

Anonymous said...

The first act of the new IG should be to investigate Murawski.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone investigating Marc Sarnoff's use of a taxpayer paid policeman as his personal chauffeur and using a taxpayer owned SUV 24/7? Anyone investigating Richard Dunn tossing around cash as he tries to buy votes?

Anonymous said...

Any news on selection?