Wednesday, August 19, 2015
O'Brian spins audit to Chamber members: We didn't do anything wrong
The e-mail did not address the audit's conclusion that O'Brian and others had steered the selection of a master developer toward Wallace-Bajjali except to say the committee did a thorough job in vetting the candidates.
No mention was made at all of the e-mail that O'Brian deleted in which David Wallace suggested that the city needed to hire a master developer.
The complete e-mail is printed below:
I am writing to you regarding the just-released state audit of the City. As a contractor for economic development services to the City and a partner with the City on many ventures, the Chamber has been named in several points in the audit of the City.
While the City has had weeks to review and respond to the audit, we received a copy when the general public did last evening. We will do an in-depth review of the points in the audit, but want you to know a couple of things we see immediately.
The audit did not capture the extensive amount of time spent by many people, including some of your fellow Chamber members, who were doing what they could to help the City in its efforts to make progress post-tornado. A number of people were asked by the City to be on a task force to determine feasibility of hiring a master developer; this number included business people, bankers and educators as well as Chamber staff and ex-officio City staff. The task force set the process for determining interested developers and then vetted the respondents to determine the finalists. The full task force conducted lengthy in-person interviews with each of the finalists. The group then made its recommendations, including commentary on the finalists, to the City for its consideration.
You should also know your Chamber has a full CPA audit done every year. This includes the City funding for economic development. We have always had a clean audit by the auditors on both the Chamber and its Foundation. That audit is presented to the Chamber board of directors upon completion; a board that includes the city manager, mayor and education representatives. We also provided the state auditor copies for the two most recent years as requested.
Board Chairman David Glenn of Keller Williams and Chairman-Elect Karen Plott of Choice Marketing have seen and discussed the report with top staff and me. As we do more research we will keep you apprised.
As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at the office at any time.