October 9, 2014
City officials are digging the hole deeper and deeper with regard to the Aspen parking scandal. I am coming to the view that they really have something big to hide.
The probability of a cover-up became clearer with the response of the city manager to a letter from Maurice Emmer. Emmer wrote the members of the City Council indicating that some city employees had talked to him about various issues. Emmer's letter was published in the Aspen Daily News on Tuesday and The Aspen Times on Wednesday, along with a response from the city manager. One would not think this was odd except for the fact that the city manager was not copied on the letter.
This leads to a very critical question. Does the City Council meet alone with the city's outside accountant, or is the city manager present in the meeting?
The city's elected officials need to answer the question. One of the best ways to minimize the risk of fraud is to schedule a meeting between the outside members of a company's board of directors and the accountants. Sometimes it will be the audit committee of the board; sometimes it will be all of the outside board members. I will state from experience that the meetings are boring until something comes up. Thus it is essential that the outside members of the board meet with the accountants alone. The same is true for a city government, especially one headed by a Machiavellian city manager.
I am curious, have such meetings occurred? Have elected city officials been told in executive session in the absence of the city manager that the accounting firm has complete access to employees and records? Have city officials also been told in such a meeting that no frauds are being perpetrated on the city's taxpayers by their government's employees?