Dan Kaman and Dave Waddington continue to provide steady leadership and vision for city government, and they found a good balance last week between the hard economic realities the city faces and the need to look beyond the current crisis toward a better long-term future.
With term limits forcing both men out of office during the coming election cycles, the experience they bring to the table now is more important than ever.
Waddington and Kaman put out the demand that budget cuts be looked at across city departments. While some city commissioners remain reluctant to take action, and city workers seem stalled in a bureaucracy that has failed to adequately serve residents, Waddington and Kaman continue to demand upgrades and efficiencies.
They have been dead-on on many city issues, and neither man lets the politics of politic get in the way or force their positions. They both work to understand the issues and go the extra mile to assure residents get the best information about the important and difficult decisions city commissioners will make in the coming months.
City hall employees must awaken to the reality that they are employed to serve the public, and they must increase the efficiency of that effort while tightening the bottom line so it lines up in with the hard facts of life in 2009.
Waddington and Kaman continue to bring forward strong proposals: reclaiming Lions Park as a destination place for locals, pushing hard for the waterfront walkway and new ideas for the open Paper District property and the First Street strip. It's important that a community envisions its future in order to create it in a way that will better serve residents.
We're a little disappointed in Waddington for going along with the idea to push a pay period at the end of this year into the next, to better balance out the city's 2009 budget. You don't balance the budget by post-dating the checks.
Kaman spoke and voted against the idea, asking his fellow commissioners try to better balance the budget this year, instead of putting off its problems. City law director Don Icsman said he would determine this week if the proposal is even legal.
Overall, though, Kaman and Waddington have hit a good balance between laying the groundwork for a local recovery and stripping down the city budget to levels that better match the diminished revenues of the general fund. We hope the other city commissioners have the courage to follow their lead.