by Roger Ewing
Having read Janice Peters' latest "viewpoint," it is obvious to me she doesn't see the big picture nor understand the consequences of some of the City Staff's inept management practices. She takes umbrage with my comments in the March issue that are critical of these practices by inferring that having our City Administrator become a City Manager was just a change in title only,when it became apparent that with the hiring of Bob Hendricks as City Manager, it was a change in attitude and managerial style that occurred. No longer did we, as citizens, have free and readily available access to our government. We also lost the transparency in the administration of our city government.
No longer were our elected officials required to bring their independent thinking and know-how to help solve the problems facing us as a small city in an ever changing global economy, but were merely expected by staff to adhere to their dictates. "They are the experts," as Rick Grantham is so fond of saying. And who are we to question the experts?
This was never more self evident than watching our City Council majority (Janice Peters, Rick Grantham, and Carla Borchard) categorically refuse to allow time at the next JPA meeting to listen to a presentation of an alternative upgrade to our Waste Water Treatment Plant--a presentation only of a design concept for a WWTP that could cost less, be more environmentally sensitive, and would in no way would alter the current design plans. What were they so afraid of, in opposing the staff, to merely listen and observe?
Mayor Peters also infers that she and the Council have managed to balance "every City Budget." What she doesn't say is how. The "how" was done, at times, by Staff's direction to move funds from one account to another, including the transferring of funds from our reserve account. Around 78% of our budget goes to salaries and benefits, yet we continue to hire high-salaried consultants, whose unheeded reports languish on shelves. We've been doing this for far too long. Now we are faced with a half million dollar deficit that we can no longer hide and the sad decision to once again let city employees go.
In all fairness to City Staff, they have, on occasion, done the right thing. I applaud them for doing so. But when they make mistakes, as they did with trying to form a redevelopment agency based on the "blight of residential property in Morro Bay" and have the Council refuse to listen to alternative concepts for Capital Projects (such as the WWTP), then it is my right to take umbrage as well.
The current political environment is laced with perceptions and is no longer the politics of ideals, but rather the politics of power. Be careful whom you place your power in.
It is the Journal's policy to allow responses and rebuttals to articles to be published in the next month's issue.
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