Fresno City Council fires controller, orders audit into city finances

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Saturday, October 1, 2022
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Fresno City Council has fired the controller over the accused mishandling of city finances and will now order an audit.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno City Council has fired the city's controller over alleged mishandling of city finances.

The unanimous vote came in a special late-night session called by the Fresno City Council to review the performance of the city's top financial officer, Michael Lima.

Lima held the post for eight years. In his role, he controlled the finances of the city of Fresno.

RELATED: Fresno City Council to vote on termination of city controller in special session Thursday

Assistant City Manager Ruthie Quinto has been tapped to act as Interim City Controller until a permanent Controller is appointed.

The Council also ordered an external audit of the City's finances, to be completed within the next 60 days.

Lima has recently been at the center of controversy.

His department let the city pay scammers more than $600,000 in a 2020 phishing scheme that became public this year.

RELATED: Fresno officials speak on $400K phishing scam; losses won't be recovered

Also, a recent attempt to audit the city's airports department came to an early end because auditors found "areas of noncompliance and significant insufficient controls."

Lima worked as airport finance manager for 12 of his 28 years at the city and City Hall insiders say he's responsible for financial controls in all departments.

Mayor Jerry Dyer and city manager Georgeanne White asked for city council to review Lima's performance, which led to his termination Thursday.