Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Commission Cacophony

The city manager is getting raked over the coals for not doing what, according to him, he didn’t know he was supposed to do.

I barely know the guy, but it seems that the current commission is trying to micro manage him, the city, and the budget.

No, guys, that is not your job.

You set policy, you give direction - you do not run the city directly. Voice your disapprovals, sure, voice your opinions, give direction generally, then let the professionals carry out your policies, the nuts and bolts are to be done by the guys who get the big bucks.

If the commission had said to City Manager Mahaney in the beginning, 7 meetings ago: We do not want the roll back rate, and we do not want the fire assessment raised, bring us a budget that reflects that, but no layoffs. He would have had direction, and a goal.

Late in the game, after the commission tried to play the part of City Manager and Department Heads combined, during a succession of meetings where, from an observer’s point of view, nothing happened at all except a lot of frustrated anger at each other, the department heads, and the city manager, and a lot of finger pointing, for the first time, they called for a drastic reduction to save the tax rate. Mahaney had already cut $3,200,000 plus to save the fire fee increase.

With time short, Mahaney brought back a total savings of $4,700,000 and explained that was the best the city could do without layoffs. (O.K. I skipped the next meeting, I really couldn’t stomach more invective, attacks and self serving monologues.)

Now, at this (9/8) meeting, I hear nothing about the $4,700,000 and we are back to the original fire fee cut alone, and the roll back tax rate of 5.9801.

What happened? I assume the commission put back the $1,500,000 cuts. What’s up with that? After all the yelling and haranguing to cut, cut, cut. The cuts are gone. Next episode 9/15.

What a mess. My guess is that Mahaney won’t last the year out. Having 5 bosses, most of whom want to play manager, is going to do him in.

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