Fiscal Panel Is in the Works

Stephen Rossi

An ad hoc committee is likely to be formed soon to help guide the city as it navigates the minefield of fiscal issues and hitches in procedure that have helped rock City Hall.
Councilman Stephen Rossi, who was recently appointed to finish out the term of Marina Khubesrian in District 2, pitched the idea of the committee when he applied for the appointment and is expected to lead the panel. He was scheduled to work out details with the city’s Finance Commission on duties and scope on Thursday this week, after the Review’s press deadline.
Work will involve outlining causes and possible solutions to the managerial missteps that, among other issues, have resulted in the 2018-19 audit still not being completed, a lag that significantly obscures the validity of any current budget proposals.

“This is a quick ‘Mission Impossible’ by a small group of people,” Councilman Michael Cacciotti said at last week’s council meeting. “They’re going to go in for several months and work with deficiencies or however they can help. Maybe it’ll last three months or maybe it’s a year; I don’t know. But I think we should get some input from the Finance Commission.”
Rossi said he envisioned there being up to two council members — “Obviously, I would like to be one of them, but whoever else would like to participate, let me know,” he said — alongside two members of the commission and two other local residents on the ad hoc panel. The council is not making it a commission subject to Brown Act-mandated public notice requirements.
Mayor Pro Tem Diana Mahmud initially recommended Rossi work out details with the Finance Commission and “negotiate who’s doing what.”
“Almost everything that is listed under the scope of the responsibilities is already within the purview of the Finance Commission,” she said. “To not disrespect the members of the Finance Commission, I think it would be appropriate to get their concurrence so there isn’t a duplication of effort.”
The commission is expected to present a recommendation to the council next week.