Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 13, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 6



Mountain View News Saturday, June 13, 2020 


Police Department, Community Center, Library, and Museum Remain Closed; Virtual Services are Still Available and Encouraged

June 10, 2020 – The City of Arcadia is reopening City Hall and other City facilities to the public for services as part of the Safer at Work and in the Community Order issued by Los Angeles County. Beginning 
Monday, June 15, 2020, open facilities now include City Hall, the Fire Department, Public Works Services, and City parks and open spaces. The Arcadia Police Department, Community Center, Public Library, 
and Museum remain closed to the public; however, services by appointment or virtual services are still available and encouraged.

As a reminder, if you are feeling sick, have sick family members, or have symptoms like a fever or cough, please stay home and contact your primary care physician. The City of Arcadia reserves the right to 
limit or deny access to City facilities.

All City departments are fully staffed to respond to requests for services by phone, email, or online, and the public is encouraged to continue to use these services in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19. 
Arcadia City Council meetings will still be conducted virtually during the month of June but will resume in-person meetings beginning July 2020, with limited 
attendance per existing social distancing guidelines. To enter City facilities, visitors will be required to do the following:

• You must wear a mask to prevent the spread in City facilities

• Clean your hands at the door

• Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet in lines for services

• Avoid touching your face and cover coughs and sneezes

• We may take your temperature before allowing access to City facilities

“Los Angeles County continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions,” said City Manager Dominic 
Lazzaretto. “We have installed the necessary safety measures in City facilities that will 
allow the public to enter and conduct business. Our larger venues like the Community 
Center and Library will remain closed until the State releases guidelines for re-opening 
high traffic facilities safely,” he added. 

On May 29, 2020, the County of Los Angeles issued a new Safer at Work and in the Community 
Order to allow retail establishments including shopping malls and other lower-risk 
businesses to begin reopening under certain guidelines and restrictions. A copy of the Los 
Angeles County Order and additional regulations can be found on the City’s website at or by visiting 

Per the latest information from local, state, and federal public health officials, the risk of 
contracting the virus remains low. There are steps individuals can take to help minimize 
and prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Avoid touching face (eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Wear face coverings whenever there can be contact with anyone who does not live 
in your household.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Practice social distancing; avoid groups; maintain at least 6 feet from others.

Anyone who was recently in an area that is currently experiencing a high infection rate 
of COVID-19 and feels sick with a fever, cough, or has difficulty breathing within 14 days 
after leaving should:

• Seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor's office or emergency room, 
patients should call ahead and tell them about their recent travel and symptoms.

• Self-quarantine and avoid contact with others.

• Not travel while sick.

• Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when 
coughing or sneezing.

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading 
the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not 

For more information regarding the COVID-19, please visit any of the following websites: 

Federal Guidance – 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 
State of California Guidance – 
California Department of Public Health – 
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health – 
National Domestic Violence Hotline – – (800) 799-7233 
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – – (800) 273-8255 

For more information regarding the City of Arcadia’s response to COVID-19 along with future updates regarding City services, text ARCADIACOV19 to 888777 for SMS updates or 

please visit us at or contact us at (626) 574-5401. 

What’s Open Guide:

South Pas Releases Statement Regarding Financial Oversight

Altadena Library Curbside Pickup

 The South Pasadena City Council responded to community input 
regarding the status of its financial controls at last night’s public 
meeting. Mayor Robert Joe explained that the City Council was 
recently made aware of community concerns about the City’s 
financial processes based on public comments by a former City 
employee. “This City Council firmly believes the community has 
every right to know about our financial condition, the oversight 
processes we now have in place, and how we are managing our 
resources during this very challenging period,” he said. The City 
Council and staff continue to prepare the City budget, which 
must be adopted by the end of June. The Council pledged to not 
take action to adopt the 2020-21 fiscal year budget until the City 
Finance Commission fully reviews all changes made since its last 

 Related to the criticism from the former finance department 
staff member, Mayor Joe said, “I want to assure the community 
that we take these concerns seriously. Over the past few years, 
we have made significant changes in our procedures so that our 
financial record-keeping and forecasting is far more rigorous than 
in the past. We recognize the critical importance of having the 
community trust us to manage our public resources wisely, and we 
have taken significant steps to earn that trust.”

Mayor Pro Tem Diana Mahmud, who served as the City Council’s 
liaison to the Finance Commission during the relevant period of 
the City’s review of the Finance Department, made the following 

 “About three years ago, we learned of some accounting errors 
and deficiencies that had gone undetected for several years during 
previous Finance Director’s and City Manager’s tenures. We took 
immediate action to correct these issues, including conducting a 
forensic audit to find out exactly what happened and how it could 
be prevented in the future. We want to be very clear: the audit 
confirmed that no city funds are missing. The audit did highlight 
the need for process improvements and we have made them in our 
operations, including a reorganization of our Finance Department; 
stronger internal controls; and contracting out for services such as 
payroll and business licensing.”

 “We are continually examining our operations to maximize 
efficient use of our limited resources and have the proper tools 
in place to weather financial downturns such as the one we are 
now experiencing. As the Mayor stated, our Finance Commission 
will review our budget once again before the Council considers its 
adoption at our June 24th meeting. We encourage the community 
to ask questions, provide feedback, and share comments. You 
expect and deserve nothing less.”

 City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe, who was hired by the City 
three years ago to bring a higher level of oversight of financial 
operations, spent time during the Council meeting to provide an 
update to the City Council and community:

 “I would like to provide the Council and the community with a 
brief history of our financial procedures and operations, outline 
the significant changes we have made to become even more 
responsible stewards of public resources, and address the points 
made in a recent communication from a former City staff member.

 “Let’s begin by noting that the community has every right to expect 
full disclosure and transparency regarding our financial operations, 
reserves, and other aspects of city management. I understand the 
frustration among some members of our community and welcome 
any opportunity to discuss our finances in detail.

 “First, some background on how we got to where we are today. 
In late 2017, we discovered a pattern of inappropriate accounting 
practices and internal control deficiencies dating back several 
years, spanning several previous Finance Directors, which, among 
other things, inflated the size of the unrestricted General Fund. 
This same accounting issue shows up in the City’s 2017/2018 
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Staff brought the 
concerns to the City Council, which quickly directed staff to begin 
the process of investigating and determining the full extent of 
the problem. We immediately put into place proper protocols to 
correct these practices while we began detailed work to reconcile 
all funds. We found that the amount of funds in various categories 
were over- and under-stated, resulting in the unrestricted General 
Fund to appear larger than it really is. Very importantly though, 
and as the mayor (vice mayor) pointed out: we found there are 
no missing funds in any City account. The location where various 
funds were inaccurately placed was not disclosed or discussed in

previous audits; the City has a new independent auditing firm 
to increase the overview of internal controls, including proper 

 “We began the process of documenting and reallocating dollars 
to the appropriate accounts for multiple previous years. This effort 
was – and continues to be – time consuming and labor-intensive. 
We have a small team of employees in the Finance Department, 
and while they work to complete clean-up efforts, they must also 
continue to process the City’s daily business such as paying bills, 
managing audits, monitoring the budget, and preparing the budget 
for the next fiscal year. As a result, the clean-up efforts will require 
additional time to complete.

 “We also put other measures in place to strengthen the Finance 
Department and reduce the potential for similar deficiencies in 
the future. This included restructuring the department, hiring 
additional specialized staff, contracting out other financial services 
at a savings to the City, hiring a new independent audit firm, 
creating and enforcing new policies, training and cross-training 
employees, and introducing new technology.

 “It’s important for the community to know that the presentation 
of the draft budget for the 2020/21 budget year was delayed from 
June 3 due to the curfew put into place by Los Angeles County, 
and as a result, the final adoption of the budget is delayed until 
June 24. In addition to the budget presentation, at that meeting we 
will provide a much deeper explanation and review of the actions 
we have taken to address the previously identified deficiencies. 
Prior to that meeting, I thought it would be helpful to provide a 
brief timeline of events during the past few years that have brought 
us to where we are today. We will make that document available 
tomorrow (June 11, 2020) afternoon.

 “Also, since the budget was presented to the Finance Commission 
on May 26, there were changes made to the draft budget posted 
on the City website as a result of updated non-general fund 
revenue estimates provided by Los Angeles County and changes 
in department budgets in response to evolving Safer at Home 
rules. Those changes will be presented to the Finance Commission 
next week along with a discussion of the enhanced fiscal controls 
now in place. It is important to note that department budgets and 
revenue estimates will continue to evolve as the County permits 
more services and businesses to reopen. We must recognize that 
we are still in a very fluid environment regarding estimates and 
predictions. Because of this, we anticipate presenting a budget 
update to Council at least quarterly, and potentially more often 
if circumstances demand. That said, we are confident that the 
accounting and allocation of General Fund monies, including 
General Fund reserves, is more accurate today that it was in 2017 
or in the 2017/2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.”

 The City’s Finance Commission will hear a presentation from 
City staff on June 18, 2020 regarding the 2020-21 budget; a 
recommendation to the City Council by the Commission is 
expected at this meeting. The City Council will review the draft 
budget and Commission recommendations and consider adoption 
of the budget at its meeting on June 24, 2020.

 Just in time for Summer 
Reading, the Altadena 
Libraries announce the 
launch of curbside pickup 
services at the Main Library. 
The services started last 
week, library cardholders 
may start calling in to place 
orders of up to 10 items for 
curbside pickup. Call (626) 
798-0833 and press 4 when 
prompted to place an order 
with library staff. Orders are 
accepted Monday - Saturday 
from 10:00am - 4:00pm.

 Curbside pickup takes place 
in the Main Library parking 
lot at 600 E. Mariposa Street 
(entrance on Santa Rosa 
Avenue) Monday - Saturday 
at 11:00am - 1:00pm and 3:30 
- 5:30pm. Once staff verifies 
your identity, your order will 
be placed on a table adjacent 
to your car so that you can 
retrieve your items while 
socially distanced.

 Responds to Input Made by Former City Employee

South Pas ‘Library Takeout’ 
Service Launches June 15

 Starting Monday, June 15, the South Pasadena Public 
Library is offering Library Takeout, a no-contact materials 
check-out and pick-up service. While customers are not 
allowed to enter the building, the Library seeks to help our 
community members engage their minds and access library 
materials through Library Takeout.

 Customers will be able to request materials which will 
be checked-out, bagged, and available for pick-up at the 
Library’s main entrance at 1100 Oxley Street. For detailed 
information about the Library Takeout service and 
Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Library’s website: Library Takeout will 
be available during the following hours:

Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 Customers can request materials by placing holds in the 
Library Catalog (, or by 
completing an online form for our Materials Matchmaker 
recommendation service (
matchmaker), or by calling the Reference Desk at 626-403-
7350 during Library Takeout hours.

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