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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

THE PLOT THICKENS
PART II

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I always know pretty quickly when I do a story that hits a nerve at City Hall, and my story on Monday about Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Janice Larned and Finance Director Stephen Petty seems to have been one of those stories.


In the hours that followed my posting the story, I got several emails, and a couple SecretSender messages pointing me in new directions.


The first, and most important was a tip to go and look at the agenda for the next City Commission meeting to be held on Thursday.


Here is the item that I was tipped off about.

You notice that $180,000 is being transferred from the Finance Department’s Personnel account into their Professional Services account.


You might wonder how in these supposedly lean times, the City could find an extra $180,000 in the Finance Department’s budget to move around like this, but you have to understand that this is an election year budget - the Mayor is running for reelection - and in this budget there are several million dollars squirreled away for any number of contingencies including money that was added to cover all of the extra people that have been hired in spite of the hiring freeze over the last few years, as well as money that is purposely stashed just for issues like this.


The reason this is being done - although you’ll not find a scrap of paper that explains any of this as part of any attachment to this Resolution on the City’s Legistar webpages is as a way to bring in one or more outside consultants to try and straighten out the Finance Department in light of the failures to comply with the Financial Integrity Principles that the Outside Auditor detailed in the report to the City in July.


In short, it has been determined that the City’s current employees are incapable of rectifying this problem, so more money is being spent to hire outside consultants.


You got to appreciate this.  Last December, the City hired Janice Larned as the Chief Financial Officer for $145,000 a year, plus another $600 a month in a car allowance and $200 in a cell phone allowance, for a total of $154,500 a year.  Here is the deal memo. 


Like other high-level officials, she was given an exemption assuring her that her salary would not be affected by any salary reductions thru the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

THE JANICE AND STEPHEN PETTY SHOW

The first thing you’ll see if you go through this document is that Stephen Petty has never held a job working within a government agency.


Now I know that there are people out there who would consider that a plus, but those people are morons.  Having expertise in the way government works is really critical if you’re going to be the Director of Finance for a City with the problems Miami has.


Governments operate with their own set of principles, guidelines and procedures, and if you don’t know them, you’ll never get a handle on what’s really going on - especially in a City like Miami, -where corruption and financial double-dealing is the way the City’s finances have been handled for years.


Secondly, on page 2 of 6 of this personnel file, there is a category identified as Certificates and Licenses. 


This guy didn’t provide any. Not even a Boy Scout merit badge in Finance.


The third thing that Mr Petty didn’t provide, and the City didn’t seem interested in demanding, was that he provide references.


Even people on the Witness Protection Program are given references so they can apply for a job. Angel Zayon and Jessica Pacheco were able to provide references. Hell, even I can provide references if I ever applied for a job with the City. Why couldn’t he?


Lastly, if you go to the last page of the resume, you’ll find the following two questions.  Look at the portions I highlighted.   

By the City’s own stated policies Stephen Petty should not be working for the City of Miami.


Yet, he is. 


Who made it possible for him to be hired? 


Why, none other than City Manager, Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez, who signed off on the waiver requesting that the “qualification procedure” be waived, by Janice Larned herself!

Again, how sweet is that!


And just to put a cherry on top of the cake; in my story on Monday I reported that Stephen Petty had told me that he had been a licensed CPA, but that he had let that license expire.


Since then, I and several other folks have spent considerable time on the internet searching the databases of all of the states where Stephen Petty claims to have gone to school and/or worked, and none of us have been able to find a single reference to his ever having had a CPA License.


If you ever had a CPA License Mr. Petty, please provide me a copy and I will be happy to post that information on this website.


Until then, the questions that need to be asked are why does the City have an unqualified individual as the Director of Finance, and secondly, why are the taxpayers being forced to pay the salary of a Human Resources Director?


It’s pretty clear, from this situation, as well as numerous others that in Regaladoland the supposed process of following established, professional procedures for hiring people has been thrown out the window, and people are not hired because of their competence, but rather because of who they know, or who they blow.


Since that is the case,  the City of Miami could save a lot of money is they went ahead and fired Beverly Pruitt, and a couple of her assistants, because they clearly are not doing the job that they were hired to do.


THE BROTHERS PETTY


It’s all really intriguing, this relationship between Janice Larned and brothers Stephen and John Petty.


First, you have Janice and John as partners in a consulting company, and then you have Janice pulling the strings to make Stephen her partner in running the City’s Finance Department.


Then last night I got a SecretSender message informing me that Janice had named Stephen as the beneficiary of her City insurance policy.


On Tuesday afternoon, I spent a fair amount of time tracking this story down, and it turns out to have been wrong.


It wasn’t Stephen who was her beneficiary, but rather brother John, her supposed former partner, who is in line to get 50% of her insurance policy should she die while in the employment of the City..


So Janice worked with John, hired Stephen, and then made John one of her beneficiaries. There are a lot of blood relatives that aren’t that close.


About the only thing that could make this story any better, is if after the 5 Dwarfs approve transferring the $180,000 at the Commission meeting on Thursday, that Ernst & Young would hire John Petty and send him in to solve the problems with the City’s Financial Principles.


Hey, don’t think it can’t happen.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

STEPHEN                              JOHN

In March the City hired Stephen Petty at a rate of $135,000 a year to be the Director of Finance, plus I suspect a car and cell phone allowance for him too.


That’s a total of $289,500 between these two rocket scientists, yet after hiring these individuals - both of whom were hired because they were supposedly competent professionals capable of dealing with whatever problems they might encounter with the troubled finances of a City like Miami’s - when the news comes from the Outside Auditor that the bimbos and bamboozlers had screwed up the books once again, neither of these two rocket scientists, now appear smart enough to take on the responsibility to tackle the problems detailed by the Outside Auditor, and instead the City decides to spend another $180,000 of taxpayers dollars to hire an outside firm to do the job, a job that by rights should be handled by the Chief Financial Officer and the Finance Director.


And guess who I’ve been told is going to be hired to deal with these problems?


None other than Ernst & Young, the Outside Auditor.


First the Outside Auditor writes the report that says the City is in deep doo-doo, and then they’re going to get a $180,000 contract, to supposedly come in and clean up the doo-doo.


How sweet is that!?!


And folks actually wonder why the City continues to have these multi-million deficits every year.


TELL US AGAIN HOW QUALIFIED YOU ARE?


In light of this discovery, I perused Stephen Petty’s application for the job of Finance Director with more care that I had done so originally, and I found it more disturbing than I first reported.  You can look at it too.