News


Grand jury: County misled public on finances; county manager calls its conclusion 'bizarre'

The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury issued a report Monday that says the county did not publicly report the true condition of its finances when tax measures were voted on in the June 5 and Nov. 6, 2012, elections.

The report, "An Inconvenient Truth About The County's Structural Deficit," says that contrary to public perception, the county does not have a "structural deficit" when it counts all revenues it receives annually.

The grand jury says the county Board of Supervisors excluded Education Revenue Augmentations Funds when it calculated the so-called "structural deficit."

Click here to read the full report (PDF).

In a 785-word response, County Manager John Maltbie said the grand jury "demonstrates an abysmal lack of understanding of the principles and practices of budgeting and financial management."

He said the grand jury's conclusion -- that the county is not fully accounting for its revenue -- is "bizarre."

"Either the grand jury was uninformed or misinformed regarding the County's use of this funding source," Mr. Maltbie said. "Of course we'll never know because we'll never learn about their deliberations."

Much of his response is a criticism of the secrecy of the grand jury, and the fact that its members are not required to submit financial disclosure statements, as public officials must, so the public can be aware of conflicts of interest.

At issue is the use of excess ERAF (Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds). Mr. Maltbie defines them this way: "In a nutshell, the County and local cities get back some of their property tax revenue that is used by the state to meet its obligations to fund local schools when these revenues are in excess of the amount needed by the schools."

He said the county takes a conservative approach to budgeting uncertain funding sources, such as excess ERAF. The county budgets about half of what it expects to receive in excess ERAF, he said. The other half is used for reserves or other one-time purposes.

Click here to see the text of Mr. Maltbie's response.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Well at least Seton will get $11.5M return in the first year for their $1.5 investment in funding and staffing the Yes on Measure A campaign.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

[Portion removed. Please don't accuse people of criminal behavior.] ... in this corrupt cesspool we call San Mateo County. Wake up sheeple you're being fleeced.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Henry Fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Measure A was never justified. It was a gimmick to raise money for Seton which invested about $1.5 million to fund the campaign and got back $11.5 million in return. --as Stogner said.

And just to rub our noses in our stupidity for passing the Measure, the county came back and asked us how the money should be used after the Measure was passed.

The voters are dorks. And the Grand Jury is correct. The County had made the decision to treat half the ERAF funds as revenue,although the funds routinely arrive. The County only budgets for half so it can dump $50,000,000 into the pension fund when it goes down, and no one will notice. Very frustrating.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Time to convene a Criminal Grand Jury?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Mr. Fox, are you a dork? Or do you not vote?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 26, 2013 at 8:54 am

John Maltbie does not dispute the findings that the Board of Supervisors misled the voters in the June and Nov election.

I wonder if this was the philosophical difference that David Boesch had with Don Horsley, Carole Groom, and Adrienne Tissier in the 4 plus hour secret/closed session meeting that created his resignation?

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fire him
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

This so-called county manager just insulted and disrespected a taxpayer grand jury. Why is the board of supervisors not taking immediate and severe disciplinary action?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Fire him says,
"This so-called county manager just insulted and disrespected a taxpayer grand jury. Why is the board of supervisors not taking immediate and severe disciplinary action?"

That is a great question, could it be that many of the 5 Supervisors are on the same side of the fence. Lets take a look, the GJ has pointed out that they misled the voters on two elections. Would it have been harder for Measure A to pass if the voters knew we had a $31M surplus and not the claimed deficit. Would Seton have funded and staffed the Yes on Measure A campaign. The Supervisors have known that the County has NOT had an actual deficit since at least 2003.
Thank You to the 19 citizens who volunteered to be the Civil Grand Jury.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by insider
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

Other things San Mateo County residents should be upset about:
1. Maltbie given an 11% pay increase by the Board of Supes; consent agenda, no public hearing, direclty following the passing of Measure A and a successful union negotiation for no pay increase (still don't know why SEIU isn't on top of that one)
2. Bob Adler, Controller, given an 11% pay increase by the Board of Supes, consent agenda, no public hearing
3. Board of Supes giving themselves a pay increase, consent agenda, no public hearing
4. Maltbie's wife "inviting" all management classifications of deputy director and above to a Yes on Measure A fund raiser at their home; this was a direct mail invitation - where did they get the addresses from? Confidential payroll data?
5. All management classifications increased retirement fund contribution by 25% (a defacto 3% pay cut)
6. Maltbie was given money to buy a home in San Mateo County as a condition of employment; never bought the home, still lives in Santa Clara County.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 27, 2013 at 9:41 am

Title of Grand Jury Report

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH ABOUT THE COUNTY'S STRUCTURAL DEFICIT

Insider I would love to hear more about this fundraiser.

4. Maltbie's wife "inviting" all management classifications of deputy director and above to a Yes on Measure A fund raiser at their home; this was a direct mail invitation - where did they get the addresses from? Confidential payroll data?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Insider
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Not much more to say about the invitation. I didn't attend. But I kept a scanned copy.

Ask around at County Center how he charges his new Tesla.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2013 at 8:20 am

Now this is the response I was expecting from Mr. Maltbie and the Supervisors. Something simple no insulting remarks about the 19 residents/citizens who donated their time. Nothing said that would cause other citizens to invest 20 minutes of their time to read the Grand jury report.

Web Link


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