Letter: What’s the problem? | AspenTimes.com

Letter: What’s the problem?

What’s the problem?

Jim Markalunas criticized Adam Frisch for taking the head of the Aspen Water Department to task (Aspen Daily News, Nov 20). For what? For spinning an untrue tale about the need for a $750,000 hydro pipeline to satisfy a dam inspector’s report. (When challenged, the water guy admitted his mistake, by the way.) But the report only asked for a tiny outlet with less than 2 percent the capacity of the hydro line. Is Jim suggesting City Council countenance lying or misleading? Doubtful, as Jim is an honest man. So what is the problem here?

The problem is not that Adam was harsh; it is that he wasn’t harsh enough. And that no other council member (including the mayor) seems agitated about the lying and misleading. And that the criticism was misaimed.

The Water Department reports to the city manager. The Parking Department reports to the city manager. The departments proposing building huge new offices for the ever-expanding city government behemoth report to the city manager. And guess what the city charter says? It says that City Council is prohibited from supervising city staff. It says that the only direct reports to City Council are the city manager and city attorney. So why wasn’t Adam directing his criticism at the city manager who permitted (if not encouraged) the Water Department to mislead City Council about the hydro pipe? Why just demote the Parking Department head and not place the blame where it belongs: on a city manager who didn’t properly supervise his department head? And why are the citizens riled up at City Council over a proposed expansion of city office space when it is the city manager’s responsibility to propose and defend such projects?

Maurice Emmer


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