Matt Potter 6:30 a.m., May 22
Why the Strong Mayor Idea Won't Work with a Dishonest Mayor
It is amazing how some San Diegans believe Mayor Jerry Sanders when he pretends that he is a straight shooter. Councilmember Donna Frye's "Frye Lights" publication, released today, retells an incident showing how strong mayor and liar mayor are a deadly mix. (Frye doesn't put it in such harsh words.) But have you ever wondered why former Auditor John Torell didn't even last two years? As Frye relates in her publication, a year ago Torell issued an internal controls report. He stated, "The City's internal controls over financial reporting, as of this report date, ARE MINIMALLY ADEQUATE TO ASSURE timely and accurate preparation of the City's financial statements." His statement went through the mayor's rewrite mill and came out, "The City's internal controls over financial reporting, as of this report date, HAVE BEEN IMPROVED TO PERMIT timely and accurate preparation of the City's annual financial statements." It was another fabrication. Torell shortly quit. Later, a slew of Sanders administration officials departed. In April, the Sanders team, after prying from Frye, released a document by the accounting firm KPMG. It confirmed what Torell had said: the City's accounting system is such a mess that it is wide open to fraud and errors. Clearly, emphasizes Frye, the auditor should be independent, and not beholden to the mayor, as this mayor desires. The auditor should be elected, says Frye. Amen to that.