Westminster Hires Consultant To Resolve Budget

The city of Westminster has hired local government finance consultant Irwin Bornstein to help resolve budget issues — namely, a stubborn deficit that is expected to keep growing — in the absence of a permanent finance director.

Former Administrative Services Director Michael Solorza was fired in May after reportedly miscalculating the size of the city’s deficit, an error that he discovered just two months before the city council needed to pass an annual budget.

But the city’s budget problems go back to 2011, when the state’s decision to eliminate redevelopment agencies opened up a $10.4 million gap in the city’s budget. They’ve since drawn from reserve accounts to pay off that deficit each year, a fund that is expected to run out by 2018.

Bornstein was most recently the finance manager for the Orange County Fire Authority and has worked for cities such as Anaheim, Whittier, Stanton, Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel, according to his public LinkedIn page.

According to City Manager Eddie Manfro, Bornstein will review the city’s books and help the city strategize a plan to stabilize its budget.

Because he is hired in a consulting capacity, there’s no limit to the number of hours Bornstein can work for the city, Manfro said. He expects Bornstein to work for “four to five months.”

Bornstein will also help city officials with the process of selecting a new finance director, Manfro said.

Bornstein will earn $90 an hour, according to his contract.

Read the full contract: Irwin Bornstein Consulting Contract

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.