Gov't

Councilmen Weigh In On City Services Project

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By Dave Freneaux

    CentralSpeaks.com asked each of Central's five Council Members questions about the process used to put Central's City Services contract out for bids.  Following are the questions and responses, with the Council Members referred to by last name only to conserve space.  CentralSpeaks.com does not necessarily agree with the all of the answers provided.  See last week's article- “City Contracts: Just the Facts” for information on city contracts under the Lawrason Act.

1) Do you feel that the 21 member City Services Committee was sufficiently qualified to assemble the new City Services Contract?  If not, can you explain your concerns?
DeJohn, Messina, Moak and Washington:Yes
LoBue:“I felt like the mayor should have allowed each councilman to select three people to be on the committee. Instead, the mayor only chose out of the three we recommended.” 

2) Do you feel that the 9 member Selection Committee is sufficiently qualified to perform the task with which they have been charged?  If not, can you explain your concerns? 
DeJohn, Messina, Moak and Washington: Yes
LoBue:“Again, one person picked the complete review committee.  Since the council will have the final vote on the contractor, I feel that the entire council should be involved in the whole process.” 

3) Do you agree that the authority to provide funding for City Services is reserved to the Council, and that the authority to issue the contract and select the contractor(s) is reserved for the Mayor?  If not, can you explain your understanding?
DeJohn:"We are governed by the Lawrson Act that gives the ultimate power of funding to the Board(Council) and gives the Mayor the power to hire and fire individuals and in this case companies."
LoBue:“? It is not up to me to agree or disagree.  The Lawrason Act is the deciding factor.  … the budget submitted by the Mayor to the Council is approved by the Council and returned to the Mayor for his approval or disapproval; It is designed this way so everything will have checks and balances.”
Messina:"This is one that in my opinion cannot be answered with a simple YES/NO answer."
Moak:Yes
Washington:"What is the purpose of the council in the decision to approve this money? Just a rubber stamp?  If we are to trust the Mayor to deliver a good contract to the city the Mayor can include the council in the process."

4) If the Mayor does choose to issue the contract(s) to the contractor(s) recommended by the Selection Committee, is it your intention to support that decision? 
DeJohn:"Yes"
LoBue:  “The review committee is only an advisor for the mayor.  It is up to the council to confirm this selection. The only way I can answer if I will support the decision is after I have had the opportunity to review everything, study the information for myself, and get feedback from the citizens.”
Messina: "I shall reserve the right to review all recommendations and then I shall seek input from the Citizens of central.”
Moak:“Barring any unforseen problems, he intended to support the decision. 
Washington:"I will not answer until it is time." 

Other comments offered by the Council Members were:
Washington:"This whole process is about trust." 
Moak:  I appreciate of all of the hard work done by the citizens in this effort and that I appreciate the efforts made by the Mayor to keep all of the Council Members informed during the process.
Messina:" I NEVER had a problem with the committee,  my only concern was and still is… MY RIGHT AS A COUNCILMAN TO TAKE PART IN THE PROCESS.. Whether that be sitting at the table or sitting next to the table and listening, I want to be part of the process."
LoBue:  “I honestly feel until we allow each governmental branches to work together we will always be divided.”
DeJohn:  "A lot of work has gone into this procedure and I believe it would be a slap in the face to the Mayor, the Committee, and most of all, our Citizens, to oppose the final decision. The Mayor and the Council, in my opinion acted in good faith last September, when the decision was made to re-examine our City Services contract/contractor. The process was transparent; very few hitches were encountered: all were corrected. Who am I to question the effort that so many good people have invested in this process?"

    If the process goes according to schedule, by June the first the Mayor Watts will request that the City Council appropriate the funds to provide services to the people of Central, and then the Mayor will sign a new City Services contract or contracts which will go into effect on July 1, 2011.

5 Comments

  1. Paul

    March 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    As for question 1, I agree with Councilman Lobue. I believe it is a good idea for city boards, commissions, etc to be made up of members chosen by the council and the mayor, not just one individual. I served on a city board in Baker when I lived there. The council members and the mayor each had an appointee. I think this is a fair way to represent the people.

  2. Ray

    March 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    A few things stand out to me in the question and answer article. The council agrees that the city services committee and the 9 member selection committee are qualified to produce a contract, regardless of who had the most input in selecting them. The fact that these talented CITIZENS chose to participate when asked, is the win for the city. In the grand scheme does it really matter who chose them? If I’m not mistaken, other CITIZENS not officially recognized as committee members, volunteered their time in collecting data to help the committee with its work and should also be commended. These CITIZENS chose to be be a part of, what I hope will be, a successful city services contract. To the councilmen not named on the committee that seem a “lil butt-hurt”, I can’t see how you would be shut out of the process unless you chose not to participate unofficially. I honestly feel it is easy to get along, its division that requires work

  3. Paul

    March 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Ray – I ask because I do not know, did the CITIZENS volunteer without being asked or were the CITIZENS asked by the Mayor to volunteer? And did any council members get to suggest CITIZENS and if so did the Mayor choose those CITIZENS, or just the volunteers he solicited? Just a few questions about the process.

  4. Ray

    March 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Paul, here are a few lines taken out of paragraph’s from the Aug 18 Mayor’s Newsletter.
    “Over the course of the next few weeks I will be appointing a committee of fifteen, which I will chair, to study this issue. Our task will be to determine the costs and benefits of all potential levels of privatization, to develop a comprehensive approach and bid package for any services to be contracted, and to present this package to the Central City Council for approval and funding. Central’s City Council has the sole authority to approve the 2010/2011 budget and will, in essence, have the final authority to accept or reject the work of this committee.
    While this process is the responsibility of the Mayor’s Office, I recognize that our council members are each involved closely with the varying groups of constituents throughout Central. As such, I intend to take three recommendations from each council member as to who they feel would be assets in this process. From some of those names, as well as other citizens I will be considering,I will put together a committee whose varying skills and knowledge will give Central the best opportunity for long-term success in this decision.”
    Paul how the process actually played out i do not know. Mike Mannino is on the committee. He frequents this site. Maybe he can shed a better light for you or Dave would probably know more details.

  5. Paul

    March 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks Ray – I appreciate the response. It would be interesting to see which recommendations made it to the board, but I do acknowledge that the Mayor can appoint whomever he wishes and it is probably a moot point as far as the contract goes. Like I said, just interesting. I choose to pick my battles and the city services contract is not one I am particularly passionate about, however I think when any Board or committee is created or emplaneled, it is in the Mayor’s best interest to try and fill it with diverse representation.

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