Sharkey and Schnopp have failed the Citizens of Port Hueneme

ColumnLogo-1By Baltazar Tapia

As the President of the Port Hueneme Police Officer’s Association, our goal is to work with the City of Port Hueneme to make sure we attract and retain the best and most competent police officers in the area.  Of course, our discussions with the City are guided by the City’s fiscal health; if the City falters, we all do.PortHuenemePoliceOfficers

Over the last five years, the City came to our Association and told us that the City was in fiscal jeopardy.  Your police officers—this Association—stepped up and made numerous concessions and provided multiple give-backs of benefits to the City, all in the name of helping the City recover its fiscal health.  Our members were the first in the county to begin to make contributions towards their pension.  Our members were the first, and to this day, are the only represented employees in the City making contributions towards their pension.  Make no mistake, this Association and your police officers have done their part to help the City.

Recently, the City passed a balanced budget with a reported sizeable surplus.  Our Association contacted the City about having a discussion regarding restoring some of the lost benefits. In response, City Manager Baker amended the budget and reported numerous mistakes he had made in his calculations.  The end result was that there was no balanced budget, and in fact, the City now carried a deficit.

Concerned about the propriety of the circumstances, we hired an auditor to examine the City’s books.  That auditor has reported to us numerous mistakes and misrepresentations about the City’s finances.  First, our auditor told us the City’s general fund gratuitously “loaned” approximately $19 million dollars to other business funds.  This means that the City’s general fund has never been “broke”; it has simply been loaning out money and reporting it as regular expenditures, leaving one with the impression that it does not have a balanced budget.  Second, our auditor reported that the City’s general fund has a reserve balance of about 72% of expenditures.  The best practices put out by the Government Finance Officers Association recommends 20%.  Thus, the City is needlessly stockpiling away excess money (and receiving little to no interest) rather than spending it on you, the citizen.  And finally, our auditor found that the City’s projections and budgets have been grossly unreliable over the past decade, when examining the City’s budgeted figures versus what actually occurred.

On September 26, 2016 all City of Port Hueneme Council Members and City Directors were invited to attend the Association’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report audit presentation. The only Council members who attended were Councilman Jim Hensley and Tom Figg. Also attending were Interim Chief Robert Albertson, Interim City Manager Carmen Nichols, Interim Community Development Director John Baker, Council Candidate Will Berg and Council Candidate Steven Gama.

Council Candidate Ellis Green was was also advised of  the presentation, stated he would attend but did not.

To our surprise Councilman John Sharkey stated he spoke to the city attorney and was advised not to attend. This was odd as other Councilmen and City Directors were not advised the same.

Councilwoman Schnopp stated she could not attend do to prior engagements.

These careless and negligent actions have misled the public, and our Association in our discussions with the City.  This is largely why our Association has endorsed new candidates Will Berg and Steven Gama for election in a couple of weeks.  These mistakes occurred under the watch of Mr. Sharkey, Ms. Schnopp along with Interim City Manager John Baker.  They have each failed all of us.


Baltazar Tapia is President of the Port Hueneme Police Officer Association-

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments