City budget watchdogs John Marshall Lee and Andy Fardy were preparing to attend the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting. Alas, the meeting was canceled. Did Christmas shopping get in the way?
Budget & Appropriations Committee has canceled their 6:00 PM December meeting that was previously canceled and re-scheduled from December 10. (Perhaps the Sheriff needs to be called?) Fardy and I were scheduled to go. Guess we’ll just have to wait until next year, Andy.
You see the City Charter expects the Council members to attend all Council and Committee meetings as part of their duties. Matters are discussed and votes become necessary and without a quorum, necessary City activity can grind to a halt.
The City Charter says the Mayor or the presiding officer of the Council or even a Committee Chair has the power to issue a warrant in order to have the Sheriff bring absent Council members to meetings or to constitute a quorum. (If you see Tom McCarthy some evenings shuttling between two meetings it is because he is “quorum glue.” It is a serious matter and happening too often.) Of course getting a warrant out is not the CC protocol of “you rub my back, and I will rub yours” and if we keep enough info under wraps, who is going to complain.
For example Monday evening the CC had five members absent but could meet quorum requirements. But B&A Co-Chair Curwen and member Silva were among the absent on Monday and may still be absent today. But getting four out of seven should not be so hard. Unfortunately the new City site has eliminated data on agendas and minutes before December, 2012, it seems. Wonder where that is archived now? Convenient for data on Council person attendance to effectively disappear since it might be one measure of public service in a year of Council elections.
B&A had a review of the budget on their agenda tonight. Of course it was only the September report that showed elimination of over $4 Million of Full Time Earned Pay from over 40 department line items. Did anybody say “ghost positions?” Were any healthcare or pension line items adjusted? And they were to review nearly $47 Million of authority for bonding of sewage treatment plants suffering from overflow. Guess that is not important until it becomes important? And Sikorsky Airport decreased projected revenues meaning a greater anticipated year end loss, because not one proposed expenditure has changed. Does anybody care?
We are turning into Amateur Night at City Hall and a rude awakening is around the corner. It may show up in strange form, but it will be financial at its base. And there is no one on the Council who will be able to defend their interest, effort and care in having done all they could to spend the public money wisely. There will be no barking only whimpering. Time will tell.