Letter: Not surprised
October 28, 2014
Recently, I submitted a letter that must have been crowded out by seasonal election endorsement letters. My letter asked why Cty Manager Steve Barwick deflects responsibility for the debacle in the Parking Department. Barwick blamed the department manager exclusively. He didn't say, "It is my ultimate responsibility. Obviously, I didn't supervise the department adequately." He just threw the department manager under the bus and then recommended hiring the same auditors who didn't catch the multi-year problem over years of city audits.
The last point is more than irresponsible. As I pointed out in my unpublished letter, in the city's 2009-promulgated financial policy statement, someone substituted the city manager for the City Council as the party responsible for appointing auditors and defining their work. The policy repeats verbatim the city charter on this point except that it substitutes the city manager for the City Council on this point. When the city manager believes he has usurped the audit authority from City Council, he must feel bulletproof.
Now, the city manager proposes that the City Council adopt a budget that includes $750,000 to build a tail race at the end of the penstock. That is the penstock the city built using misrepresentations about the need for a drain line from Thomas Reservoir — drain line that no safety agency has suggested unless the energy center (hydro) on Castle Creek were put into operation. When I asked about this, I was told the city had obtained a "new report." Why am I not surprised?
I have asked to see the new report and the supporting information, such as what assumptions did the city give to the inspector or did the inspector make that could lead to this change when nothing physical has changed? I haven't got the information yet but let me make a suggestion to the City Council.
I will say what few will say in public. We need a different city manager. Someone from the outside who will find and cure whatever problems the current lack of management has created, parking among them. Departments that don't tell City Council the whole truth all the time among them. And save that $750,000. You might need it to pay off the city manager's contract, ridiculously secure for a city manager we really need to replace.
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