Monday, June 22, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part III

Parts I & II were posted here on 6/19 & 6/20.  Please read them so you have continuity.

Basically what we are showing here is that Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught was totally off base when he accused fellow council member Eric Jenkins of attempting to micro manage city staff (the city manager in particular).  What Eric Jenkins was doing was his job, to wit, to recommend and suggest courses of action that could be in the beat interests of the city with regards to its budget.  Whether or not they are truly viable would have to be looked into.  Vaught, on the other hand seems to take a "she can do no wrong" approach to the city manager.  Basically, he, Vaught has abrogated his responsibility as a member of the council.  Jenkins on the other hand is doing what he is supposed to do.

Jenkins had five suggestions.  Yesterday we posted the first one.  Tonight we are posting numbers 2 & 3.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see that Jenkins is suggesting (like he is supposed to), and not micro managing.  Well, almost everyone.  Sandifer played "me too" with Vaught's comments. 

Here are numbers 2 & 3:

    Selected Moratorium on Projected Staff Hiring to Return to Pre-Recession Staffing Levels:   I am opposed to rehiring to previous staffing levels, excepting public safety staff, i.e., police and fire positions.  It may also be prudent to examine carefully the possible limited support of Public Works positions on a case-by-case basis.  Other than those potential hires, there should be a moratorium of one year on acceptance of the proposed staffing plan to more carefully examine the justification for additional hiring.  There are multiple reasons for this position.  (1)  During the economic downturn the City put in place staff reduction policies and has purchased various automation software and equipment to reduce dependency on staff.  These improvements should begin to bring a return in the investment by the City in real terms, such as the reduction of previously filled staff positions.  (2)  The economic turnaround of the economy is a far less optimistic picture than is being offered up by the current national administration.  One could easily argue that we experienced continued recession in recent fiscal quarters.  Although revenue appears to be on an upward trend, it may not be based on a sustained recovery.  (3)  By implementing a moratorium of one year on non-public safety staff, more time would be available to new council members to review the need for these additional positions and would provide the City Manager additional opportunity for better justifying the need for these positions.  Once new staff is hired, it would be very difficult to address overstaffing issues without significant harm to those who may be subsequently let go.

     Increase Contribution to Road and Street Maintenance from the General Fund:  It is somewhat disturbing to review the budget for maintenance of our city streets and see that although the taxpayers for this city have done their due diligence and paid their taxes, we are not spending their hard-earned dollars for one of the primary purposes for which they pay.  Stated priorities for this city are Public Safety and Infrastructure.  The small amount we are allocating from the General Fund to street and infrastructure maintenance is a very small portion of the City’s general revenue.  The argument has been made that the budget is being raised for this purpose. However, that argument does not withstand close scrutiny.  The budget for infrastructure is being increased on the backs of the taxpayers by the assessment of an additional 3/8 cent sales tax.  The taxpayer would like to see appropriate funding of street maintenance from the General Fund, supplemented by the increased revenues from the 3/8 cent sales tax in order that the city can accelerate the process of catch up on postponed and deferred maintenance which occurred during the recent years of reduced city revenue.  I therefore request the City Manager submit a revision to the currently proposed budget that places appropriate priority on the maintenance of city streets. I believe that a minimum of $2 million from the General Fund, in addition to the other funding streams currently indicated in the proposed budget would be a move in the right direction.

Read the suggestions and see for yourself.  Unfortunately we are stuck with Vaught for about two more years.  Let's just hope the voters in Ward III see the light and do not return him to the council.  The citizens of the city overall saw him for what he is by bouncing him out in the recent mayoral primary.

Sidebar:  Again, where is the Shawnee Dispatch on this?