Long delay since my last post. While I have a few posts written and “in the can” as they say, I did not feel any of them were quite right for this moment.
Since the last Council meeting on August 13th I have been mentally writing a blog about that meeting but had not quite been able to commit it to writing until now.
City Charter Topic
The best way to describe the Mayor’s presentation about the city charter changes is that it was “Sad”. “Odd” and “Weird” are also good words but Sad just seems to fit the bill a little better.
Here are my observations:
- Mayor Mapp’s presentation was so far after that fact that it was almost pointless. He should have done this BEFORE the council took up a resolution requesting the state legislature to approve charter changes.
- The verbal tour of the costs, with long division, multiplication, subtraction, pro-rating etc. was both tedious and comical – mostly because the Mayor grew more and more agitated in the process. No matter how you slice the math – this will ultimately cost taxpayers money – that is a promise.
- The Mayor was noticeably frustrated and perturbed at having to present this to the public. Never addressing the fact that he overstepped his authority nor apologizing for not doing this the proper way – which would have been to:
- 1) Present Concept to Council and Public
- 2) Allow for Council and Public to ask questions
- 3) Allow Council to think about it and hear from constituents before voting on the changes
- 4) Council presents ordinance to be sent to state for approval, discusses it at a public meeting, allows for additional public comments and feedback and then votes
- Councilman Cory Storch provided a standard all over the place public comment about being upset and happy and sad and supportive – and then voted in favor of the changes.
- Councilman Steve Hockaday stated that he was concerned about the change from a fire chief to a fire director and wanted to hear from the rank and file fire personnel (many were in attendance by the way). Excellent idea (step #3 above) – but because the Mayor handled this process so poorly it likely too late. Moments after his comment Mr. Hockaday voted in favor of the ordinance on first reading and it will be finalized at the September council meeting.
- I look forward to hearing about his conversations with the file personnel – I assume his interest in hearing their opinions meant that he was planning to set-up a round table or town hall style event with their members
- No other council member spoke out about the way the Mayor usurped their authority and made charter changes without proper oversight and public input.
- The Mayor, instead of offering an apology for his secretive approach, decided instead to attack citizens that have spoken out against his secretive process – referring to them as Purveyors of Misinformation and suggested they should apologize to the public. It was sad, passive aggressive and honestly reminded me of a “fake news” Trump diatribe where instead of attacking the debate you just attack the debater.
- There was no discussion about the qualifications of the individuals being promoted to the new director positions. For example – does Jazz Clayton-Hunt have a background in IT to effectively manage the city’s vital IT infrastructure – which requires much needed upgrades to get us from our 1975 model and into the 21st Century. Does she have the project and program management skills necessary to oversee the integration of the Murphy Humphrey system that the taxpayers have invested so heavily in and have yet to see the benefits from? Side Note: can someone tell me when the city council authorized Ms. Clayton-Hunt to have a city car, insurance and key to the city gas pump?
- The council should have each new department head candidate appear before them in a public meeting and ask them detailed questions about their qualifications for the position, what ideas they plan to bring to the department and the issues they will be addressing to improve services and performance. Council had advise and consent authority – which means they must approve appointments (think Supreme Court confirmation concept)
The Charter issue is up for second reading at next mondays council meeting – I was unable to attend tonight’s agenda fixing session (by the way, can we please change that name – it is just awful) but I look forward to next week’s meeting when the council members walk us through their thinking and discuss the detailed due diligence they gathered since the last Council meeting.