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Auditor seeking some cash up front

By Staff | May 29, 2010

Michael Kessler wants an advance before he starts his audit, but it’s still unclear whether he can obtain documents from MWH, the city’s general contractor on the utilities program, that he says he needs to get the ball rolling.
In a memo to city council from City Auditor Dona Newman dated May 21, 2010, Newman wrote that Kessler “indicated he would be adding a section for work done to date to be paid” to the contract, and that he was seeking “an advance before any significant work is completed.”
The same memo states that Kessler, who performed a previous audit of a portion of the city’s utility project, has not submitted invoices to date.
Newman told the Cape Coral Breeze on Thursday the contract was unavailable, and would not be available until council discusses the proposal at its workshop on June 7.
Mayor John Sullivan, an adamant supporter of restarting the audit, said he was comfortable paying Kessler prior to the work being completed.
“Before you can ask someone to do work you need to pay them for it,” he said. “But I don’t see him asking for the entire $60,000.”
Councilmember Bill Deile said previously that Kessler should only be paid if he’s able to obtain the necessary documents and complete the audit that Kessler told city officials was stymied last go around when he could not obtain all records sought.
Deile said he has not seen a list of the work Kessler said he wants to be paid for, but stands by his earlier statement.
“I’m of the same mind as I was before,” Deile said.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said Kessler included in the new contract a clause in which his firm assumes responsibility for any libel.
He thinks the $60,000 would be wasted money and could mean more somewhere down the line.
“That two city workers’ salaries plus benefits,” McGrail said. “If it comes to layoffs there’s 60 grand we could have save there.”
Councilmember Marty McClain doubts the documents sought are even available, and says pursuing them is nothing short of wasting time and money.
“There’s no way we can stay under 60 grand and provide the documents he needs,” McClain said. “We shouldn’t enter a contract for something we know we can’t provide.”
City council’s next workshop is Monday, June 7, in city hall.