News Column

Still no answers on how much Marathon actually spends on its Finance Department

June 14, 2014

By Ryan McCarthy, Florida Keys Keynoter, (Marathon, Fla.)

June 14--Interim Marathon City Manager Mike Puto says the breadth of the request, not a lack of effort, again held up a detailed report on the city's contracted Finance Department this week.

The City Council has been considering the possibility of getting rid of Bishop Rosasco & Co., which runs the city's finances, in favor of an in-house department. On April 22, the council directed it staff to investigate the feasibility as Rosasco stepped down as finance chief, though his firm still overseas the finances.

Puto was expected at Tuesday's City Council meeting to provide the board with specific Bishop Rosasco contract figures requested by Councilman Mark Senmartin. He wants to know the complete cost of outsourcing the service.

Bishop Rosasco had previously provided initial figures that show with its fixed-rate ($365,736 per year) annual contract, hourly billing utility finance contract and "other billing" contracts (city manager recruitment), the city paid an average of $499,629 per year from 2008 through 2013.

Tuesday, Puto provided a report to the council, but it was handed out moments before the meeting began and did not include finalized financial information or a requested pros-and-cons analysis of an in-house finance department.

"I have maybe 4,000 pages here," Puto told KeysInfoNet. "I'm trying to get them the numbers, but it's labor-intensive. I'm trying to do the best I can to get this done and get them to them."

However, the 4,000 pages to which Puto referred reference credit card bills for travel and other expenses, as well as "copy making and other stuff not included in the contracts."

Puto and Finance Director Jennifer Johnson, a Rosasco employee who replaced Rosasco as the finance chief, explained to the council last month that credit card expenses are itemized, with each expense having its own receipt and paperwork.

Mayor Dick Ramsay said he's "about fed up with directing staff to bring back information."

"It was my understanding that we asked the manager to go out and bring us concrete information as to our options to either stay with Bishop Rosasco, bring this operation in-house, or whatever options might be out there for us," he said. "When it comes back, I am going to expect a real report and real options and no nonsense."

Senmartin agreed, saying he wants "to see real numbers [and] real options."


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Source: Florida Keys Keynoter (Marathon, FL)

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