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Op-Ed: Letter on Measure B had the facts wrong

February 22, 2013|By Scott Ochoa

As city manager, I am precluded from advocating for or against a ballot measure. Yet as city manager it is incumbent upon me to help ensure the public has reliable and factual information in voting on such measures. In the case of Measure B, the consideration of amendments to the Glendale city charter regarding generally accepted accounting principles and the charter-authorized General Fund transfer, it is important voters know what is real and what is not.

A recent letter to the editor by Harry Zavos on Feb. 20 distorts both the facts and history of the General Fund transfer by GWP Glendale Water & Power. As the city attorney and city staff have outlined repeatedly, publicly and consistently, the transfer as currently implemented is both lawful and properly calculated. Looking at the historical record honestly, the calculation of the transfer of operating revenues from Glendale Water & Power to the city's General Fund is supported by the language in the charter and the history of the charter amendments that authorized the transfer. It also reflects the same general methodology as has been employed for more than half a century.

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The problem is that the city's charter, as it refers to the transfer and the accounting for GWP, is severely outdated. Relying solely on the accounting methodology contained in the charter would damage the city's financial standing by creating an audit finding and denying the city an unqualified opinion of financial appropriateness.

That's it in a nutshell; not an increase of the transfer, not the recalculation of the transfer; just the application of modern fund accounting to the city's General Fund and GWP accounts.

Let me reemphasize, Measure B will not increase the transfer or change the methodology for its calculation.

To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on Measure B; they're just not entitled to their own facts.

Log on to the city's website at www.ci.glendale.ca.us to satisfy your own desire for objective details regarding this matter.

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SCOTT OCHOA serves as city manager for the city of Glendale. He can be reached at sochoa@ci.glendale.ca.us.

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