Comments On Town Manager Off Base

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Editor:

A letter to the editor in June 13 edition of the Payson Roundup was erroneous and needs correcting.

The letter was from Glenn Smith (GS) ... a frustrated teacher/mentor whose pupil did not meet the criteria for CFO as judged by a panel of experts whose financial background equated to hundreds of years.

His comments about his replacement, Debra Galbraith, are way out of line.

In the letter he starts by agreeing with a Roundup editorial of the prior week that the town has a financial problem ... in that he is right. But, this problem was not created by CFO Debra Galbraith, it is a state and national problem passed on to towns and cities.

He implies she did not sound the warning ... in this he is wrong. She was sounding the alarms and pushing the state for accurate numbers months ago but we were not supplied the real numbers until late April.

The Roundup stated that Debra inherited a poor accounting system and Glenn takes issue with this ...

He states: "The system in existence at that time was fully capable of producing financial data monthly as required."

The system was capable of producing information but not easily ... it was a bad system that even GS acknowledged. Regarding reports to the council ... this was an ongoing problem when he was there. Getting information that was understandable from him was very difficult.

He states: "She was given access to this data before I (GS) left."

The idea of bringing her on early was to allow an orderly transition. However,ecause GSas angry that his hand-picked successor was not chosen, heid not let her interact and did nothare information resulting in the misuse of her time and talents.

He then gets into a vicious attack charging ... "The town manager and chief fiscal officer (CFO) of any town or city is totally responsible for the monitoring and reporting on the financial condition of their municipality." ... "Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty and responsibility." ... "She had very capable staff in her deputy CFO who knew how to extract the information needed in a timely manner and produce monthly reports."

The deputy CFO he refers to was the person he had hand-picked for the job. She applied for the CFO position but was determined to be less qualified than Debra. After not being selected, her performance was less than expected. Regarding her ability to produce reports ... if she could, why were they not produced?

He further states: "Debra, as town manager and CFO, failed and/or refused to use all of the resources available to her."

He is making this statement in a vacuum, he was not there. I was, and that is not what I observed. In fact, she greatly improved the system and supplied much-improved information.
In conclusion, he praises himself for the fine job done. Yes, he did a good job, but all was not well. If he had put into place a real "Rainy Day Fund" (which puts dollars away during the good years for use in the bad with the council only able to interact with the fund in a true emergency and with a super majority vote) the town would not be facing the problem they currently are facing.

Bob Edwards

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