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Letter: More details about the General Fund

April 01, 2014

The city manager’s March 22 op-ed, “Glendale’s City Charter is clear,” accuses me of having “bad facts.” I wish he respected the public enough to have been careful with his. Here are just some examples. I’m not the named plaintiff in any lawsuit against the city, as he claims; albeit I’m a member of a nonprofit organization that is. He writes I’ve argued GWP transfers to the General Fund violate Glendale’s charter. The charter establishes no “general fund”; it establishes two different funds, both using the word “general.” The difference between the two isn’t merely semantic; it’s substantive.

Art. XI, sec. 14 establishes the “general budget fund” to pay for general services and, it expressly precludes GWP monies from going into this fund. The op-ed makes clear that nevertheless transfers go directly to pay for public services. Art. XI, sec.15 establishes the “general reserve fund” principally to temporarily advance cash to other funds. The charter directs GWP transfers to this fund (Art. XI, sec. 22).

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I’ve argued it is transfers to the general budget fund rather than to the general reserve fund that violate the charter. I’ve argued the city’s current practice of transferring regardless of GWP surpluses violates the charter because the charter only authorizes transfers from the GWP surplus fund — the repository of monies left over, if any, after all utility needs are met. (Art.XI, secs. 22 and 20).

The op-ed asserts the city’s current practice has existed since 1941. But, Glendale’s 1979/1980 budget (pages M-13, M-22 and M-23) shows this is simply not true. You, the reader, can check my citations for accuracy and decide for yourself whether the city manager shows the kind of respect for facts that’s required of a person in his position.

Harry Zavos
Glendale

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