Scales: “Who’s in charge at City Hall?”

In an open letter to the City Council, mayoral candidate Bob Scales said a lack of leadership contributed to the city’s financial troubles. Read the letter below…

As I watched your discussions tonight about the city’s financial problems, I kept asking myself: “Who is in charge?”

Is it Mayor Darlene Kordonowy? City Administrator Mark Dombroski? Finance Director Elray Konkel? City Attorney Paul McMurray? A council member? Who is going to lead the city in this time of crisis? Who is going to take responsibility for solving the city’s financial mess? Who is going to come up with a financial recovery plan? Who is going to implement that plan?

Nothing was done in the mayor’s proposed 2009-2010 budget to reduce the impacts of this economic crisis. Nothing was done by the council during the budget process to protect the city from insolvency. Less than two months after the budget was adopted, the city finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy. This is no longer a dire prediction made by a few concerned citizens. These are the words of your own city administrator. The city is insolvent. Unfortunately it is an admission that may come too late to avert the city’s imminent collapse.

What I saw tonight was a group of elected officials who had many questions and a management team that had no answers. No one was prepared to address the problems. There was only a request by the administration for a temporary bailout of the general fund using a loan from the utility funds. This was not presented as a solution to the problem. It would simply buy the city a little more time. It allows everyone to defer making difficult decisions for a few more months.

As you all must realize by now, the city should have started making permanent cuts to operating expenses at the first sign of trouble back in January 2008. Instead the council dithered for months and eventually went into debt for $1.75 million just to cover operating expenses until the end of the year. Please don’t make the same mistake again. Getting another loan to tide you over for a few more months will not solve your problems. It will only make them worse. The administration wants you to believe that taking out a loan from the utility funds is the best option. It is not. The best thing you could do is to make immediate cuts to operating expenses and capital projects. Don’t worry about losing grants or canceling contracts. None of those things are going to matter if the city goes bankrupt.

Tonight Councilman Bill Knobloch asked the city administrator where he would make spending cuts so that the city could avoid having to take out another loan. The city administrator could not answer the question. He had not even considered cutting city expenses.

If you do not act swiftly and decisively to cut city spending and avoid additional debt, then it will not matter what form of government we have. It will not matter who the next mayor is or who is on the next city council. If you force the city into bankruptcy none of that will matter.

So what are you going to do?

-Bob Scales

One thought on “Scales: “Who’s in charge at City Hall?”

  1. I’ll leave others to name the culprit as to who is in charge. I know what the organizational chart shows:R Mayor K must be held accountable. In fact add others to the recall list.

    Call to Recall: Deceit deception mayoral recall bainbridge.

    We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any longer.

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