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Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011 CMPD Citizen Survey Released in PR push, but numbers don't add up

CMPD and Chief Monroe seemed to go on a Campaign of Convincing last night--all on our tax dollars paying the tab, with a little help from WSOC who did a wonderful promo piece on Monroe and the job he's doing.

The simultaneous release of a report entitled "CMPD Citizen Survey" was interesting, to say the least.  There are numerous reasons why the accuracy of the data itself should be questioned as statistically irrelevant--more on that later.

The stated purposes of this report have to do with increasing people's perception of safety, not their actual safety.  Too bad.

There are enormous pages that appear to present a demand from the community for Women and Non-White officers, regardless of qualifications, which really give one pause.  Listening to concerns from field officers who do not expect the next round of promotions to come in a way that is fair  and commensurate with abilities, tonight's show and tell along with this powerpoint report feels more like a propaganda machine carefully paving the way for some announcements that won't go down well. 

In addition, 45% of respondents are from the Southeast division.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the lowest crime area in all of Charlotte?  I'd feel pretty positive in that area, too.

Maybe there should be some high level discussions at City Manager level to be sure that appropriate considerations are reviewed before changing rank and pay.   Maybe there should be a look backward, in terms of positions acquired.   Let's get this right.  Let's not lose our good officers.

Here's a link to see the report for yourself: here

also, SEE     for valuable information

Saturday, July 23, 2011

CRVA Letter of Agreement with PricewaterhouseCooper -- expenses over $ 25K ?

Mr. Derick Close, Chairman, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), signed an Engagement Letter for services with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on May 2, 2011 to “serve as an independent advisor to the CRVA Board in support of the Board’s own internal audit, review, and assessment of the CRVA’s operating policies and procedures and organizational structure.  PwC will provide consultation to include research of existing documents, participate in discussions with CRVA Board members, and industry insights…”
The letter further states:  “It is understood and agreed that PwC will not be responsible for any review and/or audit of the CRVA’s operating policies or organizational structure.”

WHAT???  Is this the understanding of the public, the Council, Mayor, and City Manager before we paid $25,000 for Consultation with PricewaterhouseCoopers?

But, did we pay $25,000?   So far, no representative of CRVA or the City will answer that question—and upon reading the agreement letter, it seems a fair question:

(PwC) “We estimate our fees for this engagement will be $25,000… At the time the fees for the engagement reach $25,000, PwC will so notify Client in writing, and Client will elect in writing whether to receive additional services.  In addition to professional fees, PwC also will bill Client for our reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, any applicable sales, use or value added tax, and internal per-ticket charges for booking travel.”

They agreed upon a $25,000 retainer up front and the remainder to be invoiced on May 27th, 2011.
It seems that someone in the position Senior Director of Communications would be already know or be able to find out whether PwC was paid $25,000—or more… but she has insisted she doesn’t know and would not get the answer as of this posting, despite being designated by the City to release the information requested.   Refusing to give an answer before Monday’s vote doesn’t feel like transparency.

I would like to know what additional monies have been paid.  I would like to know if the Mayor, Council, City Manager, or any other City Employees knew all this money would not be spent to actually audit the CRVA. 
Would you?

View the entire Letter of Agreement  here

UPDATE: 7/28/2011  Monday night's vote by Council and the Mayor was unanimous to give millions more of our money away to a group which has demonstrated stellar poor judgment in operating themselves, their budget, and our City-owned facilities.   As far as Cooksey's strong words of support leading up, I'm not surprised that the Hospitality Community supports having buckets more tax money coming their way at our expense.

Open all the books.  When even children could explain what was wrong with your bonus and other related policies, you need to stand up, admit the decisions you have made poorly, then get on with fixing them to move forward...  calling in the City Attorney (why is this the only time we consider the CRVA a City Agency?--when they need attorney's dollars?) to claim there was no ethical problem just wasn't the way to go.  Mea culpas and plans to change in short order would have likely sufficed.

See the concerns and views stated during the Council Meeting on July 25th by going to this link 

You can "JUMP TO" "Citizen Comments" for some strong comments from Wayne Powers and then "JUMP TO" "CRVA Vote" to get to that debate.   Just because that vote is over doesn't mean it's too late to express your concern or viewpoint to our elected officials and City Manager Curt Walton, who is not elected, but serves at the pleasure of the Council/Mayor.  Manager Walton has responsiblity for running most of the City (details to follow in another "get to know your government" post for newcomers).   

But do write about what you want to happen with the organization(s), facilities, and other related items.  There's much ahead to be done.  Bottom line, we want this to be successful.

Really, could we get a response to