South Orange trustees are missing critical financial information from the Chief Financial Officer and former Village Administator, John Gross, says trustee Howard Levison. Trustees and Village officials have been waiting for an updated Cash Management Plan since January, and the Finance Committee awaits essential reports that detail Village spending and cash on hand.
Levison, Chair of the Finance Committee, noted publicly at a July Board of Trustees meeting that his committee has "no financial reports." Committee minutes show Levison has requested documents throughout the year, including a key document, the Cash Management Plan, that outlines the financial updates the Village can expect throughout the year from the CFO.
Village Administrator Barry Lewis reassures residents that the Village is "on top of the situation. Nothing will prejudice the Village." However, he acknowledges "communication lapses" and"some delays" with the CFO. Gross and the Village are now working towards an agreement that will outline specific duties of the position.
Gross last year became full-time CFO in West Orange. The West Orange job offers a four-year contract with an annual salary of $130,000. At the same time, he remains South Orange CFO. The contract signed in September 2011 provides $55,000 a year for 27 months.
The contract outlines that Gross will still provide services to South Orange as long as it does not exceed 10 hours a week and does not interfere with his job in West Orange.
Village President Alex Torpey explained then that the hours Gross will serve in South Orange aren't necessarily during business hours, and could include evenings and weekends.
Village Attorney Steve Rother said last year that Gross will be expected to participate in three committee meetings and three budget workshops. He said that there are "no time limits" on Gross' responsibilities as South Orange CFO. "No matter how much time, he has to fulfill them," Rother said.
He further added, "The time amount is driven by the chore. To the extent that [his] chores require a presence in Village Hall during business hours, he would have to be here."
Levison remains concerned about delayed and missing information. "This impacts our ability to sign contracts," he said. "That means capital projects are delayed."
Gross did not reply to request for comment.
Gross has 17 months remaining of his contract with South Orange.