Mayor Aja Brown posed a poignant question during a recent regular city council meeting. She told those in attendance, “if you want to judge someone’s integrity, check their credit score.” She went further saying, “seeing how a person spends their money tells you what is a priority.” said Brown. The city’s finances must not be a priority for her administration since the city has yet to restore their credit ratings since 2012.
July 2012 the city was warned about failure to provide an independent auditor’s opinion on their annual audits.
In September 2012 both Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s suspended their ratings of bonds issued by the city of Compton. By 2013, somehow IFS Securities, in Georgia, sold $5 million in bonds to stay afloat. The same IFS Securities who helped fund Measure P.
S&P had the following to say about why they suspended the city’s credit rating due to lack of an opinion by the auditing firm hired by the city.
auditors declined to provide an opinion on the city’s redevelopment agency’s audit,” S&P said. “The independent auditors wrote that due to allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse of public monies, as well as a lack of city responses to the auditors’ inquiries, the scope of their work did not enable them to express an opinion.
2 Urban Girls asked mayoral candidate Omar Bradley how would he restore the city’s credit rating.
In 2010 the city of Compton, while still taxing its citizens for employee retirement, stopped paying into the retirement fund. In 2013, Mayor Aja Brown and City Manager Roger Haley, attempted to retire that debt by taking Federal Grant Money, and paying the retirement debt and other city expenses. These tactics, both illegal and unethical, are the factors that not only led Compton to a poor bond ratings but violates the law and sound ethics as well.
The road to sound budget management, that is to say, paying the city’s bills on time and with the appropriate funds, is the way to restore confidence in the city’s financial stability and also increase the municipal bond rating.
I will demand that bills are paid on time and consistently. That is how municipalities increase their bond rating and capacity.
2 Urban Girls initiated a public records request to see how the city is handling paying the city’s bills and to do what the mayor said – check the credit of the city and those running it.
Requests were made on balances for law enforcement, utilities and trash.
The city has refused to disclose those balances.