Union County paid Brown & Brown $20,000 to do a GASB 45 valuation for 2007 and the accountants have been using that report ever since.
The 2013 audit is now out and after I pointed out how comical the 2012 OPEB numbers were:
Note 15 on OPEBs changed considerably this time. No interceding actuarial valuation seems to have been done so the accountants were left to their own devices and this is what they came up with.
The concept of lawyers bending the law to their clients’ whims is fascinating to me. We have that in Union County where lawyers told the freeholders it was OK to steal from the Open Space trust fund and that the county’s seal could be trademarked. Obvious blunders only one of which has been corrected.
Three things that I, and at least one other person, take away from all this:
For years now the only pieces of fiction I have been reading are either by Christopher Buckley or the auditors for Union County. Whether it’s fudging OPEB disclosures or failing to mention raiding the Open Space Trust Fund (a $10 million annual tax that sunsets in 2020) to pay operating expenses this deceptive reporting (I mean by the auditors not Buckley) have kept investors, who heretofore have accepted as gospel that municipalities would somehow always pay back their bonds, in the dark and eventually out of luck and money.
Then came Detroit with their deceptive pension numbers and the SEC started worrying.
The Star Ledger reported that Union County is being sued over alleged sex assaults at the juvenile center but what they did not report is that, because of the county’s participation in New Jersey’s flourishing pay-to-play system, county taxpayers are already on the hook for up to $100,000 in legal fees to mostly connected law firms as county counsel determined that the fourteen defendants in Fowler v. UC, et als need different outside law firms to represent them with each of the firms starting the meter at $10,000, an amount that, based on past experience, will escalate regularly over the course of the case to what should eventually hit six figures for each. Those firms:
2014-235 VICE CHAIRMAN MOHANED S. JALLOH: Resolution Introducing and Approving the Annual Budget of the County of Union for the Fiscal Year 2014.
During this meeting the freeholders announced to employees of a nursing home that the powers-that-be decided to sell their place of employment thus jeopardizing their jobs and benefits as well as deflecting any responsibility for the building of a sports complex at the county college all while being mum on any budget details, even the criminal (except possibly in New Jersey) aspects.
In this context: mushrooms
The W.P.A. was a godsend to Hague. Virtually every person who got a W.P.A. job in New Jersey was told he got it thanks to Frank Hague. – Thomas Fleming
As quoted in Steven Hart’s book American Dictators on Depression-era political bosses it could apply in modern-day New Jersey with only a few new words (Hurricane, Sandy, Christie) or (unemployment, Union, County, government) and some new wrinkles.
I started attending Union County freeholder meetings about six years ago in part to get material for a weekly column I had in what is today the LocalSource and was then the Kenilworth Leader. At the time, to my amazement, the freeholders were not answering questions and I got an article out of it. Subsequently they started answering questions, to varying degrees, but this year it looks like they have relapsed (note that this video is unedited – the pause was really that long):
These ‘public servants’ smugly refuse to answer to the public. “It’s public comments not public questions” and we don’t need to answer to those who:
- pay the taxes
- take time to attend these meetings for no remuneration
- research the issues
- suffer the abuse and ridicule of those who expect they will have us pay for their defined benefit pensions and lifetime health benefits.
Shame on them: