If you think the Largo City Commission meetings take on an Alice in Wonderland ambiance, no wonder.
Where else in the universe of political entities does a "no" vote merely mean that the issue is "continued," and that peculiar ruling is made by an individual who has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the vote.
This is the same individual who sat at Charter Review Committee meetings and was being paid as the clock ticked. The grand total was on the order of $18,000.
As far as can be determined, not one member of the CRC knew that Alan Zimmet was raking in multi-bucks while he sat in their midst.
In fact, it is questionable that the members of the City Commission, his supposed bosses, knew that Zimmet was getting lots of extra moolah for sitting there.
"I thought that was part of the $2,000 or so a week he gets on retainer," one CRC member said.
So when it came time to give guidance to the commission a couple of weeks ago on a matter that would funnel even more money to Zimmet & Co. it was not surprising that the city lawyer was right there to protect his own interest.
Isn't this a conflict of interest?
Or is Zimmet in the category of that Baltimore member of the Maryland legislature years ago who commented on a law that directly benefitted his barroom that he didn't think "it conflicted with his interest."
And then there is the matter of the internal auditor, an idea put forth by Curtis Holmes, a very active citizen for whom Largo taxpayers should be grateful.
Like Geoff Moakley, another citizen, Holmes is a watchdog of expenditures.
Holmes is a strong advocate for an internal auditor. He even got hold of some authentic information explaining exactly what internal auditors do and sent it to the mayor and commissioners.
One thing is certain - the mayor, Pat Gerard, didn't read it, or if she did read the material totally ignored its contents and blatantly and erroneously commented on it.
Under state law, Largo goes through an auditing process just like every other government in the state. The city is always found to be up to snuff.
What Holmes is talking about is something a little different.
The kind of auditor Holmes has been advocating since June 6 is not merely a scrutinizer of check books and income. The job goes far beyond checking the financial books.
An auditor would be the eyes and ears of the commission in terms of knowing what was happening inside the machinery of city government.
An auditor would provide accountability for management's performance. There is no real close accuracy for this now. The manager, in effect, does this which is the equivalent of the fox guarding the hen house.
An internal auditor would assure that the city operates in accordance with laws, rules, regulations and policies, would respond to citizens' needs, would assure that the city is functioning economically, efficiently and effectively.
In addition, an auditor would determine the extent to which goals, desired results and benefits established by the commission are being achieved.
The mention of the idea by Holmes now over the past couple months and he continues to bring it up always elicits a panicked response from City Manager Steve Stanton and Zimmet, his myrmidon.
Bringing in an internal auditor as a strong tool for the City Commission would eliminate the Alice in Wonderland aspect in which the commission is now wreathed.
Stanton and Zimmet want no part of the idea. In short, NO NO NO.
And, of course, the question is why?
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