10/3/13

Reflections On Report 1213 "Financial Transparency with Meaning"

Report 1213, “Financial Transparency with Meaning” was of interest to me because it attempts to discuss financial transparency with regard to city finances for all the cities of Contra Costa County.   City finances are a complex and broad subject to try and address in a grand jury report, and I looked to see what I could glean from the responses to the findings and recommendations.


What I gleaned is that the report responses provide insight into the approaches and attitudes of each city, but that a reader needs to read the responses in detail to really understand what each city is saying about their finances and how they display them to the public.  Sometimes the short response is “disagree” but then they provide an explanation of what they do which looks to me like agreement with the grand jury report.  And the cities did interpret some of the recommendations differently, probably because the recommendations tried to cover multiple aspects of an issue and the city chose to focus on some rather than all of the issues.

Where I had biases to begin with the responses did not change my mind – they neither convinced me I was right or that I was wrong.  And I think any generalization about the cities of Contra Costa County would be hard to justify.  Each has different approaches and attitudes.  I think almost all project that they aim to inform their public about their finances rather than hiding them.  But what they deem acceptable varies greatly (one city said they thought their reports were better than what is available in the private sector, and I have a problem with comparing reports to share holders to reports to the general public).  By publishing the report the Grand Jury was clearly stating they thought there was a lot of room for improvement.  Only a few of the cities appear to agree that improvement is needed and they are open to new ideas.

Even so, the responses are interesting and varied.  Each city responded in their own way.  Fortunately for anyone wanting to interpret the results in general they give more than one word answers, so it is possible to get a feel for how each city feels about the report and its recommendations and findings.

In my opinion the response vary from dismissing the report and saying what they currently have is good enough, to the opposite extreme of saying there are some good ideas in the report which will be considered.  It did seem like the cities with the best public facing reports were also the ones most willing to consider new ideas in the report.


I attach my summary of my interpretation of how the cities responded to a couple of the findings and all the recommendations.  The key takeaway from this table is that a lot of the cities feel like what they do already meets the recommendations of the grand jury.  I doubt the grand jury agrees with that as they would not have made the recommendations if they did not think they were relevant for most of our cities.

City
Finding 2
Finding 10
Recommendation 1
Recommendation 2
Recommendation 3
Recommendation 4
Recommendation 5
Antioch
agree
partially agree
already implemented
requires further analysis
already implemented
already implemented
will not be implemented
Brentwood
agree
agree
already implemented
will be implemented
already implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
Clayton
agree
partially disagree
will not be implemented
will be implemented
already implemented
will not be implemented
will not be implemented
Concord
partially disagree
partially disagree
will not be implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
requires further analysis
Danville
partially disagree
partially disagree
will not be implemented
will be implemented
already implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
El Cerrito
agree
agree
will be implemented
requires further analysis
already implemented
requires further analysis
requires further analysis
Hercules
agree
agree
will be implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
might be implemented
will consider
LaFayette
partially disagree
partially disagree
requires further analysis
will be implemented
partially implemented
will be implemented
requires further analysis
Martinez
agree
partially disagree
already implemented
requires further analysis
already implemented
already implemented
will not be implemented
Moraga
agree
partially disagree
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
will not be implemented
Oakley
partially disagree
partially agree
already implemented
will not be implemented
will be implemented
already implemented
will consider
Orinda
disagree
disagree
already implemented
already implemented
will be implemented
requires further analysis
requires further analysis
Pinole
partially disagree
partially disagree
already implemented
partially implemented
will be implemented
requires further analysis
will be implemented
Pleasant Hill
agree
agree
will be implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
requires further analysis
Pittsburg
agree
agree
will not be implemented
already implemented
already implemented
will not be implemented
will not be implemented
Richmond
agree
agree
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
San Pablo
agree
partially agree
already implemented
requires further analysis
already implemented
requires further analysis
requires further analysis
San Ramon
agree
agree
will not be implemented
requires further analysis
already implemented
will be implemented
will be implemented
Walnut Creek
partially disagree
agree
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented
already implemented

2 comments:

  1. Contra Costa County Chapter of the California Grand Jurors' Association. ... (CGJA) page of general information. What is a county grand jury and what does it do.. financial planning india

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where I had biases to begin with the responses did not change my mind – they neither convinced me I was right or that I was wrong. financial advisor india

    ReplyDelete