Council approves financial review resolution
By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The City Council voted unanimously to initiate a financial review because they are seeing answers for questions surrounding almost $1.4 million missing for the city’s Public, Educational and Governmental fund.
During the June 23 meeting, Councilman Ray Muscat made the motion to approve the resolution and Councilman Bill Bazzi supported.
The Michigan Court of Appeals on June 11 ordered that Mayor Daniel Paletko sign the city council’s retainer agreement with the Ottenwess, Taweel & Schenk, PLC law firm after the court issued a writ of mandamus. Council Chairwoman Denise Malinowski-Maxwell said the mayor signed the agreement June 19 after 16 months of back-and-forth.
Ottenwess, Taweel & Schenk was hired to facilitate the handling of the forensic audit city council was seeking. In the resolution, it stated that council approves the assignment of the retainer agreement from Ottenwess, Taweel & Schenk to Schenk & Bruetsch PLC with all other terms and conditions remaining the same.
The council also reaffirmed its support for the sub-consultant agreement between Schenk & Bruetsch PLC and Rehmann Robson.
Rehmann submitted its initial proposed work plan for the conduct of the investigation together with the terms of its proposed sub-consultant arrangement with the attorneys to the city council, according to the resolution.
On June 12, the scouting and advising firm Rehmann Robson submitted the work plan to the council which it approved in the resolution.
Services by Robson Rehmann are not limited to accounting, consulting, financial analysis, agreed upon procedures and forensic auditing. Fees will be billed monthly for the hours in accordance with a fee schedule from Rehmann Robson’s MiDeal contract with the state.
Hourly rates showed $250 to $375 for the staff member titled principal, $190 to $260 for the senior manager, $150 to $220 for the manager, $125 to $175 for the senior associate, and $100 to $125 for the associate. The pricing document said travel costs must be included in hourly rates.
The letter from Rehmann Robson to city council has Mark Kettner with the principal title.
In the resolution, the council requested that Rehmann immediately begin work on the financial review, upon signing its engagement with Schenk & Bruetsch PLC.
According to the letter signed by Kettner, Rehmann Robson’s employees are available immediately to begin work on the engagement plan which laid out how the process will move forward.
Included is a meeting between the law firm, city council and Kettner along with a meeting between Kettner and City Treasurer John Riley II.
The engagement planning document prepared May 28 also says any completed planned actions, tasks, significant matters discovered or conclusions reached will be communicated to the city council in accordance with the adopted city council protocols.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])