Excerpted from Sacramento Business Journal
August 30, 2013

California Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a bill that could prevent local governments from falling into bankruptcy.

Under Assembly Bill 1248, authored by Rancho Cordova Democrat Ken Cooley, the state controller would develop new guidelines to detect accounting errors and fraud at local agencies. Those guidelines would come from standards from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and also input from advocacy groups representing a smattering of local governments.

According to Controller John Chiang, the bill is an attempt to learn from fiscal disasters in the California cities of Bell, Stockton, Hercules and Montebello. Chiang said those cities had weak internal controls for preventing accounting snafus.

“This bill calls for the state and local governments to work together to develop stronger fiscal management practices aimed at protecting communities against self-dealing, misuse of taxpayer monies and other abuses of public trust,” Chiang said.

The bill calls for more separation between fiscal duties such as budgeting and check-writing, and other measures to prevent conflicts of interest in hiring and contracting.

“These guidelines will create a highly visible yard stick by which administrative practices may be measured, giving much needed guidance to citizens and public officials,” Cooley said.

The bill passed unanimously in both houses.

Christopher Arns covers state legislation, regulation and contracts, as well as economic news, international trade and economic development for the Sacramento Business Journal.

 

Successes

  • Fiscal Prudence
  • My City Hall
  • A Model Government

Ken's conservative financial habits reflect the values of his home life with Sydney, his wife of 36 years, who has served for many years as bookkeeper for Cordova Neighborhood Church.

His habit of care with money was deepened and reinforced by his 18 Year private sector business career as In-House Counsel to State Farm Insurance, one of America’s most successful financial enterprises. The stewardship of Ken’s city with tax dollars makes it a rarity — 8 yrs of balanced budgets, every year a surplus, never yet dipped into our reserves, chosen as an All America City during his second term as Mayor...

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Government works best when it is connected to those it serves.

I believe that, and during my 1st term as Mayor in 2005, I did something to make that idea a part of my city’s history and identity.

While still under construction, I opened our future City Council Chamber to City residents for an event I called ”My City Hall”. City residents – young and old - had one evening to enter the shell of our under construction City Hall...

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International study into effective governance makes City of Rancho Cordova its first stop.

The People’s Republic of China has 10 study missions now underway around the globe to explore how a variety of modern democratic societies manage change through deliberative government institutions. Rancho Cordova was singled out as the first stop for the team that is conducting its survey here in the United States. The clip that folllows was aired on Sacramenmto area television as the local news crews profiled the team from China’s visit to Rancho Cordova City Hall.

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