Friday, April 11, 2008

Beancounter Says Oakland Fired Her for Warning About Cash Flow

By Chris Thompson
Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 7:22 AM

In today's Chip Johnson column, former Oakland city controller Larae Brown is suing the city, claiming she was fired for warning city leaders about shoddy bookkeeping that left Oakland broke while city employees took cash they didn't earn. Here's what she claims: That after going over the books in 2006, she learned that city had $172 million less than it claimed. That the city only had bond money left, and bond money can only be used for specific purposes. That the city had comingled bond and general fund money in the same accounts, which means bond money could have been spent illegally and is a big no-no in the bookkeeping world. That hundreds of city employees were paid for hours they never worked. That after telling City Administrator Deborah Edgerly all about this, she got fired. Now, why would Edgerly do this? According to the lawsuit, Edgerly snagged $243,000 in benefits, sick leave, etc., that no other city employee was eligible for, and that it was all due to the very accounting problems Brown discovered. Edgerly's office has denied the allegations. By the way, it should be noted that the Trib first broke this story a month ago.

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