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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Accountant on Board at City Hall

The San Diego City Council on Feb. 14 voted unanimously to spend $250,000 to hire a former chief accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to help dig the city out of its financial hole.

Lynn E. Turner, who worked at the SEC from 1998 to 2001, now is a senior adviser with Kroll Zolfo Cooper, a New York-based crisis manager and turnaround specialist. He will review reports issued by the City Attorney’s office and the law firm of Vinson & Elkins, which released a massive report in September 2004, detailing the city’s financial disclosure practices.

The city has been under scrutiny for a myriad of money problems, including an underfunded pension now estimated at $1.4 billion, with another $1 billion in unfunded retiree health-care costs; investigations into possible financial improprieties, federal subpoenas, missing documents, suspension of the city’s ability to issue bonds, and an overdue 2003 audit.

The accounting firm KPMG has refused to issue an audit pending resolution of the city’s tangled financial fortunes. Turner, who also will review the city’s disclosure practices, is expected to help get that audit moving.

Completion of the audit is considered by Mayor Dick Murphy and the City Council as key to getting the city back on track, and restoring its ability to borrow money.

Pat Broderick

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