On Playing Games With Metro Tax Dollars

Each month Metro OMB provides each director with an itemized view of where their department stands fiscally. The reports include original budget information for the fiscal year for specific commodities or services – like plumbing contractors – and shows directors how much cash remains from the original budget. That allows them to see where they stand relative to the fiscal year.

So we decided to take a look at the most recent report provided to Mark Zoeller, the Assistant Director of Facilities for Metro Government. Three pages raise more questions than there are answers. Rather, there are answers but Metro folks weren’t willing to provide them prior to publication of this story. Either because there’s something to hide and they don’t like being called on it or because the information will be released in a convenient PDF package after this story hits in an attempt to make it seem pointless.

The first covers an account for “Mayor’s Special Events.” Odd, considering Metro Parks is where the Special Events team is housed both physically and financially. Even more odd is that the account includes a line for Building and Office Renovation for $33,300. Yep, $33K for office renovation. In a special events budget line. It’s buried so deep that unless you know what you’re looking for, you’d likely never discover it.

Take a look:


If somebody wanted to maintain a small slush fund to use for this or that, it’d be a great place to house some cash. With six months remaining in the fiscal year, it’d be interesting to see what was planned for those dollars. Good luck finding out. Because Metro Government still has a really difficult time with “transparency” in 2014.

The second is for the Hall of Justice. Roughly three year ago the Hall of Justice had its heating and cooling systems upgraded and refreshed for something like $4.3 million. The work was conducted by Johnson Controls and came not only with warranties but with guarantees that the multimillion dollar investment would slash the HOJ’s heating and cooling budget by more than 30%. Wonderful stuff, smart way to spend taxpayer dollars. But the budget sheet appears to indicate that the HOJ is spending $550,000 per year and there’s no notation that the work performed by Johnson Controls is being monitored for those guaranteed savings. There currently are no published data to confirm those savings.

Take a look:


Little in the way of transparency, difficult for the public to find out if they’re getting what they paid for.

The third excerpt pertains to the project management group responsible for PVA Tony Lindauer’s $300,000 not being used as appropriated by Metro Council.

Here it is:


It indicates that $477,100 is being spent on salaries for that particular group of employees. The group that has no public accounting for its project, its time or its dollars. $477,000.

The Fischer Administration, no matter how it’s spun, is merely selectively transparent. If the current good old boy network wants to hide something? It’s pretty easy to do.

But shame on anyone asking questions.

2 thoughts on “On Playing Games With Metro Tax Dollars

  1. The Facilities workers standing around on Congress Alley today said Cathy Duncan, the new director, met with them earlier. She’s trying to get to the bottom of why Facilities continues to be perhaps the most under-performing division in Metro. All of us here in Fiscal Court Bldg wish her great success.

    We asked them why they thought they had a bad rap for not being productive, and they all said “morale”. But then we asked them how is their work measured, what metrics were used, and where did they individually fall in terms of daily productivity? You’d have thought we had dissed their mothers. To the man (there were no women in the group) they said facilities work simply could not be measured – it’s impossible, they assured us, to hold them accountable for what they do in a day. They were upset we even asked about such nonsense. Seriously.

    Ummm. Is “morale” their red herring? After all, it’s gotten ‘em this far with no accountability….

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