Friday, January 8, 2016

Altered Resolution an Accident, Says County Administration

“No intentional wrong doing,” says Luttrell aide in letter to Commission chairman Terry Roland.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 10:49 AM

More on the case of the Altered Resolution— famous or infamous now in the annals of county government.

click to enlarge Mayor Luttrell
  • Mayor Luttrell
In the previous episode, Shelby County Commission chairman Terry Roland and his Commission ally Heidi Shafer were suggesting that someone in the administration of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell had changed numbers in a resolution prepared by Roland and sent the resolution, altered also in the text, to the state Comptroller’s office in Nashville.

Roland’s resolution, clearly intended as a salvo in the running power struggle between an apparent Commission majority and the Mayor, sought to have the county’s fund surplus — the amount of which has been a matter of dispute between the Commission and the Mayor — routed from the administration’s financial office to the Commission’s contingency fund.

Such a resolution, if passed, would not only put points on the board for the Commission in its contest with the Mayor, it would in theory give the Commission an independent set of eyes in determining just exactly what the county’s surplus for 2014-2015 had been — whether $6 million, as the Administration had first reported in advising the Commission against a property tax decrease, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $21 million or even higher as Commissioners came to believe on the basis of late-breaking information.

Before the resolution could be acted on by the full Commission, however, a copy of it went to the Comptroller’s office, and where there had been a blank for the amount of the imagined surplus intended for transfer, there was now entered an amount of $107,772,795.00 — which was the amount of the county’s entire fund balance!

As the Comptroller’s office promptly notified all the local parties, such a transfer would be illegal and impossible, since it would deprive the county of its entire operating monies for any and all purposes. When that response went public, Roland cried foul, and he and Shafer suggested that nothing short of forgery could account for what he called a “blatantly altered” document.

A planned “discussion” of the matter was on the Commission’s agenda for its committee sessions on Wednesday, but Roland said it was being withdrawn pending further “investigation” of the matter.
Asked for his response to the matter on Thursday, Mayor Luttrell recalled that, during a recent weekend budget summit between the administration and the Commission, there had been a dispute over the issue of who should have supervision of the county’s surplus funds.

“That alarmed us,” said Luttrell, “and then when this draft resolution came down, we said, “OK, we really need to get some clarity from the state comptroller’s office. Let’s just go to the comptroller, so we’ll know where we stand.” That accounts for the dispatching of a copy of the resolution to Nashville.

A letter this week from Kim Hackney, deputy CAO, to Roland supplies further explanation of the incident from the Administration’s point of view. The letter suggests that the alteration of the amount sought for transfer occurred inadvertently as copies of the resolution were passed back and forth between deputy County Attorney Marcy Ingram, Commission administration assistant Quoran Folsom, and County Financial Officer Mike Swift.

The letter, the link to which is below, should perhaps be allowed to speak for itself:

Or here is the letter, with exhibits, reproduced in sequential pages:

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