In this article, the mayor claims the Council was “being political” by refusing to approve the emergency preamble of a $35k request for 2 new boilers for city hall. By doing so, the mayor publicly challenged the integrity of my fellow councilors and me. The mayor couldn’t be more wrong and I am troubled by his statements. Unfortunately this is far from the first time he’s tried to cover up his mistakes by blaming others.
The emergency request was sent down in the mayors communication and the Council needed to act based on the documentation he provided to us that night. In that documentation, we did not have a copy of a quote for the work or even any indication that the job had been sent out for quotes. The Council’s responsibility is to question such requests, especially in the case of emergency measures. It is our duty to ensure proper procurement procedures are followed and the need is valid. Did the price include a contingency? Were the current boilers inoperable? How long will it take to order and install the new boilers? As is so often the case with our mayor, this measure was grossly underprepared.
Time and again the mayor has demonstrated a complete disregard for the Municipal Council. However, despite having been burned before by an emergency request, the council persisted and considered the boiler motion on behalf of the people who work at City Hall. (For those that don’t recall, the mayor previously lumped an emergency request for cameras in with many end of year budget requests. Upon investigation, it was revealed the cameras had already been installed.) The bulk of the conversation that took place on Tuesday night focused on the potential impact of delaying the boiler work to city workers. There was real concern that city workers should not be punished due to the incompetence of their boss. With very little information, and the absence of the Mayor to discuss the details of his proposed emergency, the Council agreed the two-week delay was unlikely to have a negative impact on city workers. We quite simply needed more information before spending taxpayer money.
This was far from the first time the city council has had to maintain decorum and dance around the ineptitude of this mayor for the good of our city and our residents. The two major items the Municipal Council has approved: the new high school and the purchase of Highland Country Club, have both happened despite the mayor, not because of anything the mayor did. The mayor took steps behind the scenes to sabotage the high school project and only supported it when it became politically advantageous. In doing so, he extended the borrowing out to 30 years and cost the residents over $40M. The purchase of Highland Park happened because it was the right thing to do for the city. The mayor’s handling of the Highland Country Club purchase lacked professionalism and leadership. He refused to simply meet with interested developers. He failed to conduct a soil sample. Add to that he created an unscientific Facebook poll which resulted in the presentation of an inaccurate and skewed written proposal that was far from professional. Any progress that is happening in our city is happening despite the current mayor, not because of him.
On Tuesday, the council acted with nothing but integrity on behalf of the residents. For the mayor to suggest otherwise does more to expose his character than anything else. The mayor needs to be more concerned about the marriage and less concerned with the wedding. What that means is that the mayor needs to pay attention and spend more time at city hall doing the actual job instead of spending his days knocking on doors telling residents how much he wants to do the job.
I have the utmost respect for my fellow councilors and the city council as a governing body. If elected mayor, I will do my very best to provide complete backup documentation for the council to review. More importantly, I will show up before the council to answer questions on any emergency measure I send down. This is how our two co-equal branches of government should work together and respect each other on behalf of our community and the residents.11