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    Entries in San Bernardino (2)

    Friday
    Dec092016

    The Week in Public Finance: Federal Budget Chaos, a Bankruptcy Win and Pension Portfolios

    BY  DECEMBER 9, 2016
    Chaos on Capitol Hill ... and in Statehouses

    As state lawmakers begin preparing for their fiscal 2018 budgets, their biggest challenge is in the unknown. With Donald Trump’s election, the future for key state and local funding is almost anybody’s guess.

    With Trump in the White House next year, Stan Collender, author of The Guide to The Federal Budget, predicts that a Republican-controlled Congress will move quickly on making major changes before the 2018 midterm elections. But after this unpredictable election, few are willing to predict what exactly those changes will be. All we know now is what’s on the table.

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    Thursday
    Aug252016

    The Story Behind San Bernardino’s Long Bankruptcy

    Unlike Detroit or Stockton, this California city’s insolvency can’t be blamed on debt or pensions.

    BY  AUGUST 25, 2016

    Four years ago this month, San Bernardino, Calif., filed for Chapter 9 protection. Today, it’s still in Chapter 9 -- the longest municipal bankruptcy in recent memory.

    Why so long? Many blame it on San Bernardino’s lengthy and convoluted charter, a document that gives so much authority to so many officials that it’s completely ineffective. “It gets everybody in everybody else’s business,” said City Manager Mark Scott. “And it keeps anybody from doing anything.”

    As a result, officials have spent the last two years trying to ensure the current charter is not part of the city’s future. A specially appointed committee is proposing to completely overhaul it.

    At issue is that unlike many California cities that either have a strong mayor/council form of management or a strong city manager government, San Bernardino’s is a hybrid, doling out authority to both sides. For example, fire and police chiefs are appointed by the mayor and subject to approval by the council, but report to both the mayor and city manager. This confusing structure played a role in the city’s road to insolvency. “You’d have to say,” Scott said, “the charter made it almost impossible to succeed.”

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