Ex-Junction City mayor defends record

January 15, 2004

Dear Editor:

In response to an article that appeared in The Advocate-Messenger last Friday, I would like to ask a few questions and state a few facts.

As was suggested in the article by a 13-year member of the Junction City Council, how can cashing a certificate of deposit (CD) start a city's financial problems? The CD was cashed and deposited into the general fund in October 2002 after the city clerk informed me that it was needed to meet financial obligations of the city that could not be met at that time by any other means. After I approved cashing in the CD, which was up for renewal, the city clerk handled the transaction at the bank and the money was deposited into the general fund upon cashing it. The fact of what happened with the money from the CD was reflected in the general ledger and balance sheet submitted by the city's contracted CPA firm prepared for the month of October 2002. Hence, the city's financial problems had commenced prior to cashing in the CD, not because of it.


Who gets the general ledger and balance sheet? The balance sheet and general ledger are distributed monthly to the mayor and all members of the council. Therefore, if they were reviewing these reports, as is their responsibility, they knew, or should have known, about the CD and the fact the monies had been placed into the general fund to cover expenses for that month.

Who was on the council in 2002? The current mayor and three current council members were sitting members of the council during my administration. That means that more than half of the current leaders were sitting council members during my administration. My job was to prepare a budget that had to be submitted to the council for approval, the council's job was to appropriate the funds, and then I, as mayor, was to administer the appropriations passed by the council.

When was the CD purchased to begin with? The CD was purchased with revenue from the general fund when, like most other municipalities, cities, counties, states and the federal government, were bringing in more revenue than was being expended. It was bought under my administration, as it would have been fiscally irresponsible to allow monies to sit in an account drawing no interest and not necessary to meet financial obligations of the city at the time of its purchase.

Who do you blame for the current state of affairs as it pertains to Junction City's financial state? The current administration can put the blame on the prior administration all they want to. I simply request they tell the whole truth and not make accusations, insinuations and innuendos regarding only me when more than half of them were serving with me. If they only now realize that the city has financial problems, where were they during my administration when, like most other governments, we were finding ourselves falling into financial difficulty? We weren't broke, we could still pay our bills, we did not have to borrow, and as of December 31, 2002, I left office with a balance of $43,913.41 in just the general fund account, payroll account, and the water department payroll for December. Also, there were considerable balances in other cash accounts, some of which contained restricted funds. Again, I only administered what the council appropriated.

As far as there being any "political motivation" behind the questions presented to the council members and the mayor at last week's council meeting, I will simply say that any taxpaying citizen has a right to question elected officials. There is no "political motivation" required for citizens to want to discuss the state of affairs of their government and town with their elected officials at a regularly scheduled city council meeting. The word that would be more appropriate would be "concern." To even hint that there would be something sinister in two or more citizens holding a conversation about the state of affairs in Junction City, I would like to refer you to the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I did not seek re-election for mayor, and no one currently sitting on the council, other than Mr. Harmon, sought election for mayor in 2002. Because I did not seek re-election does not bar me from being a part of the community, nor does it prohibit other citizens from holding conversations with me. All citizens are entitled to answers to their questions. That would include any citizen who may have served in any capacity in the past. I might add, that should I ever have a need to ask any questions, I will not be sending a proxy in my place. I will attend and address the mayor and council at a regularly scheduled meeting face to face.

Dale Walls

Junction City

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