Feel-good Aspen City Council lacks spine | AspenTimes.com

Feel-good Aspen City Council lacks spine

A few years ago it was discovered there had been financial problems in the city's parking department for years. It was widely known to locals but somehow was overlooked by city management and city council.

Stories abound about cheating in the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority system. Every Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority resident can tell you several.

Now we hear of an alleged embezzlement at a city-supported facility (the Red Brick). Whenever one of these events comes to light city management and City Council feign surprise. Yet routine internal controls and audits (not annual financial statement audits, which aren't designed to catch such things) would have flagged these problems early and nipped them in the bud. Why does this happen?

They lie at the feet of all the City Council members who serve today and have served the past 10 or 15 years. They are more concerned with virtue-signaling, politically correct gestures than with the hard work of government oversight.

Many of them have no competence in overseeing a lemonade stand, let alone the operations of a $100 million-plus budget operation. They are just well-intentioned folks who want to do good but don't really know how.

City Council has punted its financial authority to a city manager, claiming we have a "strong city manager, weak city council" form of government. But it is City Council that makes itself weak by failing to supervise the city manager and his operations. It's the City Council's choice; the results belong to the City Council. Falsely claiming they have no power shouldn't absolve the City Council of its responsibility. But it seems to do so, as long as the citizens are happy to permit mismanagement to prevail, year after year after year.

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Rah, rah, rass.

Maurice Emmer

Aspen

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