At the root of this timing issue was overwhelming complexity. As governmental accounting and auditing has grown exponentially more complex and time-consuming, the accounting resources of most municipalities have not kept pace.
The City was operating with an accounting department roughly the same size and structure as it had for the past 15 years, and it simply did not have the capacity and expertise to account for such complex issues as unfunded pension liabilities, fair value of investments, and other post-employment benefits.
And yet, given budget constraints, the City Council would not approve hiring additional accounting staff. While the City’s external audit firm had helped prepare financial statements in previous years, the support the auditors could provide was limited due to independence issues.