Op-Ed: Land Trust – Why Hide General Payroll Information?

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The following is not intended to take away from the wonderful and important work the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) does to provide our city with building much needed permanent affordable housing. I simply seek the same level of transparency as was provided before the ICLT separated from the city since they are still funded by our tax dollars.

Quick History:

  • The Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) was created in 2006 to build permanent affordable housing
  • The ICLT will receive a total of $72 million in cash and land ($29 million has not been transferred yet)
  • In May 2018 the ICLT:
    • Separated from the City of Irvine, no longer adhering to the Brown Act and redefining the role of city directors.
    • Made two bylaw changes (one in 2017 and one in 2018) that:
      • (1) Eliminated the City’s right to inspect financial statements, documents, records, etc.; and
      • (2) Stripped the City from all project reviews and approvals.
    • Closed its doors to the public. Residents were no longer allowed to attend the meetings or obtain public records.
  • In January 2019, the Land Trust opened its doors again due to community pressure.

June 17, 2019 Meeting

I attended the last ICLT meeting and for the first time since re-opening its doors to the public in January 2019, they provided financial budget information – actual numbers instead of general pie charts. But after doing a comparison of the budgets from before and after, there were two areas of concern:

  1. General Employee Payroll Information: 

At this meeting, Executive Director Mark Asturias made it clear he did not want to provide details under this category. Here is a comparison of the level of detail the city used to receive (FY 2018-2019 Budget) and what the ICLT has provided now (FY 2019-2020 Budget). The City should be receiving the same level of detail as before.

Employee

 

2. Marketing & Communication Services (HKA)

Why is the ICLT spending more than double what it spent last year on marketing? How do these costs help the main goal of building more permanent affordable housing?

 

Untitled Extract Pages

 

Mayor Pro Tem Kuo is the Board Member representing our City and I hope he, along with our City Council, will continue to advocate to obtain the same level of information the city had been receiving for years before it’s closure in May 2018.