Tuesday, June 23, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part IV

This is the final installment of this series.  The previous items were posted 6/19, 6/20, and 6/22.

If you have read the previous items you will see that Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught was very wrong in accusing fellow council member Eric Jenkins of attempting to micro manage city staff.  And then Mickey Sandifer has to be the parrot.  All that Jenkins was doing, was his job, something which apparently Vaught is not fully cognizant of.  Obviously Vaught feels that council members need to rubber stamp anything and everything the city manager does.  That is not the function of a council member, even with a city manager form of government.

Anywhere, here are the last two items that Jenkins suggested:

4)      Storm Water Management:  I was very disturbed that we turned down substantial funding from the county to effect storm water improvement due to lack of funds.  I feel we should always be in a position to accept funding for important improvement projects in the city when our funding match is very favorable to us.  This item fits in with our highest stated priorities:  Public safety and infrastructure.  If we turn away funding for one of our highest priorities, it underscores our need to manage our budget and our staffing levels more effectively.  Our budget needs to adequately fund these projects in the future.  I propose that we budget a more realistic amount for storm water management projects in the 2016 budget and have a contingency plan available to enable the City to accept any additional funding which may become available.

5)      One last item of concern is the complexity of the display of our budget.  Departmental cost as reflected in Departmental budgets is not comprehensively presented.  There are too many separate budget systems for anyone other than those most familiar to the budget to comprehend without very serious study.  Public attending the budget hearings are overwhelmed by the way numbers are presented.  I believe the complexity of the budget discourages public comment or input.  I believe public input is important.  Transparency is important.  The way we present the budget achieves neither of those objectives.  If the city management team requires additional tracking mechanism, programmatic spreadsheets or other management tools, they could be maintained in-house.  However, the budget for presentation to the Governing Body and the public should be clear, understandable and of sufficient detail to allow formulation of a position.  I ask that the City Manager examine ways of simplifying the presentation of the budget to make it more user-friendly and more easily understandable to citizens of Shawnee and the Governing Body.  I believe we are too far along in our budget process to accomplish this task in this budget year, but it should be ready for the 2017 budget.

What is really interesting is Jenkins' last suggestion.  Golly gee, he would like to see the budget presented in a manner that is easily understood by both the governing body and the citizens of Shawnee.  Gee, he wants to use the KISS theory from what I can tell, when it appears that we've been given the old "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS".  My take, not Jenkins. Citizens and governing body should not need MBAs in finance to understand the basics of the budget.

Sidebar:  Where was the Shawnee Dispatch on this?