By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen says he will respond to points cited by Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office, and will, additionally put together a new recovery plan for the city of Portsmouth, following a letter from Robert R. Hinkle, chief deputy auditor.
In his letter, Hinkle reminds Allen the state had elevated the city of Portsmouth to fiscal watch status on Nov. 30, 2012, because the city had not made reasonable proposals or taken action to discontinue or correct the fiscal practices or budgetary condition that prompted the declaration of fiscal caution on Nov. 22, 2011.
On Aug. 8, 2013, then-Mayor David Malone submitted a Financial Recovery Plan which had been approved by Portsmouth City Council to the Auditor of State’s office. That plan contained eight major actions that were to be implemented from the first quarter of 2013 through the fourth quarter of 2014.
“Based upon the meeting held with you (Allen) and the City Solicitor (John Haas) on July 120, 2014, to monitor, review, and discuss the progress of the actions in the plan, it was determined that the progress made in these important matters to date is disappointing,” Hinkle said. He then listed eight actions, and commented on the outcomes - many of the comments were negative.
Allen is disputing some of the facts listed in the correspondence and says he is preparing a response to those assessments as well as a Revised Financial Recovery Plan.
The Daily Times asked Allen why the original plan submitted to the state by Malone was not followed.
“It wasn’t attainable,” Allen said. “It just wasn’t workable. I’m going to prepare a new plan.”
Hinkle said, “Representatives from the Local Government Section (LGS) of the Auditor of State’s office have been monitoring the city’s progress of the implementation of those actions that were included in the Plan. They have found that little or no progress has been made.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.