My topic this week is the silence at 222 Meigs Street.
For a whole year, the citizens have been giving Ms Ard the benefit of the doubt. Since she is new to us, we have been waiting patiently for some evidence that we are in capable hands. We all know that Ms. Ard had a lot of fires to put out upon arriving, which delayed certain things from being implemented. We understand that it takes a little time to show results, but is it too much to ask Ms. Ard to update us on what she has implemented during her first year as City Manager? Even some of the commissioners ask the very same questions and get no answers.
The lack of communication between Ms. Ard and a local newspaper reporter should be a big concern. Not answering questions takes on the appearance that City Hall is hiding things from the public. It is especially troubling when the elected leaders allow the questions to go unanswered from the City Manager. The city is not a private company where people are on a need-to-know basis. The city is managing our tax dollars and the citizens have a right to ask for accountability of those dollars.
We know what Ms. Ard has not accomplished and we want to know why she has not met her deadlines. Is there a logical explanation why she hasn’t replaced the engineer’s position? What is the reason for a six-month delay in the union contract? The City Manager has not eased our concerns and she has left us with unanswered questions. Maybe if Ms. Ard explained herself, we could better understand why she is doing what she is doing. Is the problem the elected leadership or with the manager? Is the budget worse then we could possibly imagine?
Delaying the union contract until June is another situation. Will the new contract be retroactive back to December? How will the city make up for six months of short fall if the union should receive raises or a change in benefits that should have been effective from the time the contract expired? Putting off the contract could present some serious budget problems. How do you budget 2013 not knowing what the outcome of the contract will be? I guess when you have a $353,000 deficit starting out that there shouldn’t be any raises being discussed since there isn’t any money to give out. Is that why the City Manager didn’t get her approved raise? How would it look to give a raise to the City Manager while the union may be left with no pay raises?
Until next week, Ms. Ard received a sweet deal of a contract. We only hope that the citizens are receiving a return on our investment. Unfortunately, we are still waiting to find out how well she is managing the city.