While I rant and rave about transparency and city government, sometimes a councilor lifts a finger. Merkouris sponsored and got passed this city ordinance last night (FF: 44:00, Item #10);
The proposal requires council approval of contract that are in excess of $100,000 per vendor, for each calendar year. Those contracts involving the expenditure of funds less than $100,000 will be noticed on the agenda. The proposal requires that all contract subject to council approval be delivered to the City Clerk and placed on the consent agenda. Contracts/agreements that are subject to the state’s executive session laws will no require council approval. Existing ordinances that duplicate SDCL are removed.
While I have stated before this a good ‘first step’ in opening up the contracts to the public, they need to make more bold changes moving forward.
But it was Rich’s testimony before the approval vote that stuck with me. Rich told a story about how his wife tells him he needs to tell his daughters he loves them, and he replies, that he provides for them, so they should know he loves them, and his wife tells him that you still have to say it. Rich uses this example to point out that the public doesn’t always know what is going on unless you articulate it (TELL THEM). He nails it! We can assume our government is open because ‘good people’ sit on the dais, but unless you actually tell us what is going on, we can assume anything.
Short-timer and world class vitamin salesman who decided not to run for a 2nd term suggested that the $100K was too low and it should be $500k because the council is too busy to be signing all these checks. Heck, Alex, why not make it $20 million so we can build more overpriced bridges for whiney babies who check their ‘decorum’ at the mayor’s office front door.
The CounTcilor’s term on the council has been truly befuddling. He truly proved a dead person could beat Stehly, because his actions and policy legislation has been truly DEAD.
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION MEMBER ZYLSTRA WON’T CONCEDE UNTIL THE MAYOR GETS A RAISE
CRC member, Carl Zylstra proposed today at the CRC meeting that a wage commission be formed to study wage increases for councilors and the mayor and gives them the power to increase their salary (but not during their term). While I would say a study would be nice, not in this case. The inflationary increases have worked well and keep politics out of the pay increase, in fact, I think the mayor got over a $10K raise last year just from inflationary increases. It works and the voters agreed almost 2 years ago, they are fine with what the council is getting paid and the current setup. Leave it alone.
While I might agree that the councilors do deserve more pay, they should have to punch into a clock instead and get paid hourly, because some of these folks would make $100K a year while some of them would be lucky to collect a paycheck (they should be handing out oxygen tanks instead).
“SELBERG! You are late again! And Paul, tuck in your shirt! And where are your slip free shoes?! All Stars?! This isn’t a 1976 meet and greet with the Globetrotters!”
The argument is that in order to attract good candidates the pay has to be higher. Really? All the insider deals isn’t enough for them? Also, if the pay is so bad, maybe we should have a cap on how much a council candidate can spend on a campaign?* Maybe it should be 50% of their annual pay? I don’t think anyone spending $100K for a job that pays $20K a year is to concerned about the pay, after all, this is public service 🙁
*I have often thought the city council should implement some campaign finance rules. I’m sorry, but spending 5X the amount on a campaign this job pays in a year tells me you are more concerned about winning and less about what it pays.