Wednesday, January 16, 2008

80,000 Reasons to Use a Pro

I know how to change my oil. I could figure out the basics of plumbing. I've done some decent carpentry work in the past. I've never done it, but I bet I could figure out how to roof my house.

Despite all these talents, I rely on experts to do all those things for me. Because they do it time after time, and are up-to-speed on any new techniques or materials, they are simply better choices. While I could do the job, they probably will do it better, and certainly more efficiently.

This morning, the Star is reporting that the Funkhouser campaign finance reports have an $80,000 discrepancy in them. Funkhouser assures us that an explanation is coming, but it's not here yet. The campaign treasurer has been Funkhouser's wife since Evert Asjes (an experienced campaign person) resigned a few months ago.

Now, I don't for a moment believe that anything sinister is going on here. I am 100% confident that there is a reasonable explanation, and that all the money will be properly accounted for.

But this is why it's smart to rely on a professional rather than doing everything yourself. A professional would have caught the discrepancy before the report was filed, and either corrected it or had a cogent explanation ready.

The next time my car needs an oil change, I'll bring it to a professional. That's one less thing for me to worry about.



Anonymous Porchpundit said...

"The next time my car needs an oil change, I'll bring it to a professional. That's one less thing for me to worry about."

There are a lot of people in this city who feel the same way about selecting the next mayor, in a few years ... or a few months.

1/16/2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Funk Fan said...

Yes, there are a lot of big-mouthed fools who don't understand shit about the recall process. Sad, isn't it?

1/16/2008 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

My guess is that he will resign before he is recalled; however, problems with campaign funds could be seen as malfeasance in office, which is the prime trigger for recall under the charter.

Still, resignation is no longer unthinkable because this guy knows he is damaged goods. He has alienated large parts of the citizenry and he tends to tell some whoppers when he talks to members of council.

Funkhouser was able to bully and intimidate people as City Auditor but he cannot get away with that as Mayor.

1/16/2008 9:02 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

There was $95,000.00 in the campaign fund before Evert Asjes resigned as Campaign Treasurer.

The Mayor appointed his wife as "interim Campaign Treasurer.

Now there is only $15,000.00 in the fund.

That's one hell of an "accounting error". I can't wait to see the "explanation" for this one.

I'm sure it will be the fault of his critics for obsessing on fluff and trivia. After all, the "real people" don't concern themselves when $80,000.00 goes missing from the campaign fund of a former AUDITOR.

1/16/2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Well, regardless of the cause, we can all be assured that Funk will get to the bottom of it.

I'm certain of it.

He'll find the money he and his campaign lost. After all, he's an internationally-recognized city auditor with 18 years of solid experience.

He campaigned and won because of his ability to ferret-out the incompetence, graft and corruption of the power structure elite in Kansas City.

If he can do THAT, He can work the same magic on himself and his campaign.

I'm certain of it.

1/16/2008 9:18 AM  
Anonymous SSideDem said...

Go straight to hell you cry babies, it was probably stolen by a negro.

Stay strong Funk.

1/16/2008 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can pretty much guarantee you that there is no malfeasance with the funds, that there will be no recall and there will be no resignation.

What you douchebags don't understand is that outside of a few loud-mouthed assholes, most people are pretty happy with the Mayor.

1/16/2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I swear I remember reading about this $80K used for campaign expenses a few months back...somewhere.

In any event, another problem involving the Mayor's wife. This could get really ugly.

1/16/2008 10:27 AM  
Blogger @ said...

I saw the Funk at the Flea Market last night playing chess in the back room... my guess is that he has blown 80k on 2-for-1 mini-burgers, $1 PBRs, and high-stake chess matches.

1/16/2008 11:00 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Anon at 10:18,

We weren't the ones who made the reporting screw-up. WE'RE not the ones causing all of these issues.

We didn't say what Funkhouser said per Prime Buzz:

"Funkhouser says the money was spent in 2007, but he doesn't know how."

I'm not presuming that there is anything illegal going on.

But everybody has to agree, this situation is the height of irony.

For someone who campaigned and won on the platform that he would be "SMART WITH THE MONEY", and brags about his auditing experience to say he spent $80,000 sometime in 2007 but doesn't know how it was spent, is ironic.

It's also incredible that the reporting error could occur in the first place.

I disagree with Dan that error was caused by the lack of an experienced campaign treasurer.

I disagree strongly with that conmclusion for two reasons:

(1) Funk had it within his means to easily backfill Evert with someone who has experience. With 1.5M people in our metro area, if he wanted an experienced campaign treasurer he could have named one. Funk made a bad judgement call and should take responsibility for it. I"ll repeat for clarity - it was Funk's judgement that caused the problem, THE LACK OF AN EXPERIENCED CAMPAIGN TREASURER WAS CAUSED DIRECTLY BY FUNK'S STAFFING DECISION.

(2) Campaign treasurer experience is not required to have spotted and corrected the error. Heck, a reporter spotted the issue! It doesn't take campaign treasuring experience to have the presence of mind to compare last quarter's ending balance and the begining balance of the new quarter. To have spotted that error takes financial experience, AND THE PERSON MOST QUALIFIED TO IDENTIFY THAT TYPE OF DISCREPENCY WOULD BE SOMEONE WHO HAS SIGNIFICANT AUDITING EXPERIENCE.

A suggestion to Funk and Funk supporters -it's well-past time all of you take responsibility for the choices Funk makes and quit blaming everybody else.

We didn't make any of this stuff that up.

1/16/2008 11:57 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

fact coreection: there are now about 2M people in the metro area.

1/16/2008 11:59 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

For those who have trouble following along, this post is another example of Dan offering constructive criticism of the Mayor.

I imagine it will also soon be another example of the Mayor ignoring reasonable advice.

1/16/2008 12:06 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I meant include in my comments above that Gloria is not at fault here.

At least I don't consider her to blame...I'm not suggesting Dan is blaming Gloria either. This is a Funk judgement issue, ultimately.

1/16/2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any ethics filing concerning his campaign committee is ultimately Mark Funkhouser's responsibility and problem. Both the treasurer and the candidate are required to sign the campaign finance disclosure form, whether it is filed electronically or not. In the case of the electronic filing this is done through a password entry. That means Funkhouser is on the hook for whatever was filed. There is no reason to "blame" anyone. The responsibility rests with Funkhouser. He is supposed to review the filing and his signature means he stands behind the information.

1/16/2008 12:32 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, on my point (1) in my post above I believe I simply reiterated your point a bit more agressively, however point (2) is still very much a valid difference.

Sophia, unfortunately, it's certain that Funk will not take that advice.

This is yet another example of Funk's aversion and inattention to managing his image and listening to criticism.

Funk thinks this error is simply a reporting error, and to construe any more implications is opportunistic.

He feels the same way about Semler; the mammy incident, and a host of other issues. It is a major factor that has caused minority communties to mobilize against him.

Until Funk recognizes this, we're going to have every additional incident's relevance (however trivial) compounded, with the accruing damage further dividing our city and minimizing the effectiveness of his administration.

And most importantly taking our eyes off the issues that really matter.

Some of the best advice one can receive are the signals and information received from your critics (negative and constructive).

1/16/2008 12:41 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Yeah 12:32 that's what really throws me.

In my experience the candidate is intimately involved with and concerned with financial reporting, because of the scrutiny they receive and the consequences of mistakes...

1/16/2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Mark Funkhouser was supposed to be a "Pro." For the first time I have to believe what people are saying about Mark.

1/16/2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Funk the auditor? Isn't this the kind of crap an auditor finds?

Dan - you did a nice job of up front taking the sting out. How many more stings to the butt do you take?

1/16/2008 3:42 PM  
Anonymous arewethereyet said...

Nearing 5:30 and no word on the 80K. For some lonely, unexplained reason I hope Dan is right. I hope the mayor has an amended form with the 80K intact or properly spent. I am hyper critical of this mayor, but today I remembered the tall, lanky guy helping me understand the real city hall, the money trail. I remember the civil servant taking out time to show me why or why not my reasonings were right. I like him so much better without squitiro. He functions so much better when she is not involved. Please Mark, do the right thing for Kansas City. Be the Mayor.

1/16/2008 5:24 PM  
Blogger Midtown Miscreant said...

Maybe it is a clerical error, someone forgot to carry a number or put the decimal point in the wrong place, still it is hard to get past the fact that Funk was an auditor. He , better than most, knows the importance of accurate book keeping.At times it seems he goes out of his way to throw himself under the bus.

1/16/2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Dan just say that Gloria, the Mayor's Chief of Staff, is not a professional?

But this is why it's smart to rely on a professional

If Gloria is not a professional then why should she be allowed such a high rank in this administration? If Gloria is not a professional, then why should she have an office in City Hall?

I want the Mayor's office to be run by competent, professional people. I agree with Dan, Gloria should go and Funk should get a professional staff.

1/17/2008 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least I don't consider her to blame

Yep, who would ever blame a campaign treasurer for not keeping accurate books. I mean, its not like that is the job of the campaign treasurer or anything.

1/17/2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Hey Hey Hey

I'm the last person in the world to defend Gloria. My only point is that it's ultimately funk's responsibuility to make the staffing decisions, and his wife is very clearly not qualified to do the job.

I'll use dan's analogy with a twist - if i hired a mid-wife to fix my air conditioner, and the mid-wife screwed the A/C up so bad I had to replace the entire A/C system, who would you blame?

That's what I'm trying to say.

1/17/2008 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Your Average Blogger said...

Who would you blame for the AC?

Stupid question. You'd blame Funkhouser, of course.

And call for a boycott.

And blame him again if you were successful in getting a boycott.

Haven't you been paying attention?

1/17/2008 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll use dan's analogy with a twist - if i hired a mid-wife to fix my air conditioner,

But Gloria is not just a mid-wife, she is a defacto co-mayor/chief of staff/top adviser.

Shouldn't the mayors top adviser be able to handle this job? If she can't handle a campaign treasurer job, then she sure can't handle the co-mayor/top adviser job.

1/17/2008 2:16 PM  
Anonymous No CPA said...

Shouldn't the mayors (sic) top adviser be able to handle this [ACCOUNTING] job?


Welcome to easy answers to stupid questions.

1/17/2008 2:33 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Well stated, No CPA. Indeed, that was the fundamental point underlying my original criticism. Different tasks take different skills. Sure, I imagine Gloria could do a fine job at it if she had the luxury of devoting her full attention and time to it, but that's not the real world.

1/17/2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I honestly think Funkhouser will resign in 2008.

I think he loves his wife more than he loves being Mayor. That's probably as it should be.

He has made it clear that he can't do the job without her.

She has made it clear that they are in this together.

Everyone else has made it clear to him that he can't be effective in his job as long as she is playing such a prominent role.

I think that 2008 will bring some legal heat to the Funkhousers regarding their personal and professional finances.

I think that sometime this year he will have to decide whether to reign in his wife or give up the job.

I predict that he will choose to resign and a special election will be called to elect a new mayor.

But the legal issues won't go away.

The next few years are going to be very ugly for Kansas City.

1/17/2008 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to easy answers to stupid questions.

I bet Ed Wolfe could have handled it.

If Gloria was not smart enough to handle the job, then why did she accept it?

Maybe because she is not that smart?

I think XO has hit it on the head.

1/19/2008 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anon at 10:16 AM has it right. Gloria is too stupid to have known that she was too stupid for the treasurer job.

Maybe Funk needs to hire a professional to make his decisions for him?

1/19/2008 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, I imagine Gloria could do a fine job at it if she had the luxury of devoting her full attention and time to it, but that's not the real world.

Too bad for Funk that he does live in the real world. Maybe Gloria should have turned it down if she was not up to the task.

It makes you wonder what other tasks that she has taken on, but is not qualified to perform.

1/20/2008 12:27 PM  

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