The News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida)

January 13, 2008 Sunday


Utility audit needed

As you know we have been working diligently to put a stop to these high utility assessments and impact (expansion) fees for quite some time. I think we can all agree that there is something radically wrong with the utility program as it exists today. We are paying three times more than other communities for the same type of construction.

If you have been following what we have been doing one of the most important pieces to this puzzle is to find out exactly what has been going on with our contractor MWH, and if MWH has been billing us properly, and if there is indeed bid rigging going on within these projects. The best and only way to find out what is going on is to bring Michael Kessler back and let him finish the audit that he was not allowed to complete.

It seems the city would not back Mr. Kessler and demand the records that Mr. Kessler needed from MWH in order to complete his audit. I find this very suspicious that they would not give him the records in a meaningful format. The question becomes, what do they have to hide? They said that the records were confidential but we all know that there is such a thing as a confidentially agreement so their argument doesn’t hold water it’s just more smoke and mirrors.

There was no good reason to keep Mr. Kessler from seeing the records he needed to complete his audit unless our favorite contractor is doing something unethical or illegal. We need to make it clear to the city council members that we the residents want this audit to be completed and we need to have Mr. Kessler audit SW-4 after SW-1 to SW-3 is completed.

We also need him to audit SW-5 when that project is completed. And we need and want Mr. Kessler to run a forensic audit of all construction contracts which were given out with or without competitive bids. There have been millions of dollars of contracts given to MWH without even being put out to bid.

The only way we are going to find out what is happening with our money is to have these audits done. The nay sayers keep saying it will cost us to have these audits done, but the taxpayers have a right to know what is happening with our money.

I say spend some dollars to save many more dollars in the future. Just starting these audits could make our elected officials more aware of how this administration has been mismanaging our money.


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