Several weeks ago, Property Valuations Administrator Tony Lindauer publicly questioned where $300,000 allocated in the current Metro Government budget for renovations had gone. Specifically, the funds were supposed to be used for renovations of the Fiscal Court building. The answer Lindauer received? The Fischer Administration had other priorities. Note: it’s important to remember that those funds were dedicated for Fiscal Court building improvements by Metro Council, not dedicated to whatever Greg Fischer’s “other priorities” may be.
When we started poking around, asking questions, we discovered that looking into those “other priorities” is supremely difficult. The information either doesn’t exist or is being purposefully withheld from the public.
Those $300,000, along with hundreds of thousands in additional funds, are managed and spent by a small group of project managers in Facilities Management, working under the direction of Mark Zoeller. There are, as of this moment, no public accounting documents of the projects they manage or the funds they spend that we can find. The checks, of course, may exist in online expenses accounting provided by Metro Government – checks written to contractors, vendors and such – but there’s no information published on a project by project basis. This makes it nearly impossible to track capital projects in that division of government.
There’s neither mention of the group within LouieStat’s key performance indicators nor does a performance indicator exist that would help the public or Metro Council understand whether or not funds are being properly spent. There’s not a capital projects committee for the Council, so the stewardship of all that sweet cash is never publicly evaluated.
Common sense tells you that there are dozens of key performance indicators that could be used. Tons of indicators that would allow Metro Council and the general public to feel assured that their dollars are being spent wisely. Simple ones like this:
- Did the project actually get completed?
- Did it come in on budget? No? Why not?
But there’s no way to trace the projects for which Facilities Management is responsible.
Fischer’s folks will surely say the funds were spent on whatever disaster was happening at the moment. But those disasters are projects and the public accounting provided for Facilities Management apparently doesn’t include information that would allow someone to examine anything the Facilities project group handles.
Why are we picking this bone? Because there are quite a few other capital project groups within Metro Government that do a great job of accounting for their projects and the money they spend. Projects like those in the Engineering Division of Public Works – a department that actually publishes a list of projects, costs and where things stand in relation to completion.
Not Facilities Management, though. With so much at stake, we can’t figure out why this is not a priority.