Posts Tagged ‘Mobile City Hall

20
Apr
10

Mayor Sam Jones on the Hot Seat…again

Well, no surprise that Mayor Sam Jones is still feeling the sting of the recent defeat of the 1 cent sales tax handed to him last Thursday morning at the hands of the Mobile City Council. Acting more like a bully on the school yard play ground than a mayor, we feel he is now planning to take revenge on those who opposed his plan for tax increases on the citizens of Mobile.

In our opinion his treat to lay-off and cut salaries was never the real plan, his primary purpose was to use the cuts as a way to push his “tax and spend” lifestyle of city government. The cuts were only a scare tactic that has now; seemingly put him in a grave political dilemma. The last thing the mayor needs to be saddled with is providing less protection to his constituents by furloughing policeman and firefighters. And, in today’s economy the last thing the voters and taxpayers will tolerate would be more taxes. Can you say Tea Party?

In the next few weeks, we will have a great view of the political landscape for the next few years. We will either see the same old way of doing business, by raising revenue in the form of property taxes, increasing garbage fees, cutting city employee’s salaries or furloughing essential personnel, like policeman and firefighters. Or, we will see genuine leadership tackling this tough situation with new ideas and making tough decisions that will put our city back on track.

In our opinion, it is time for the Mayor and City Council to think outside the box. We are aware of several ideas that have been presented to the Council and several of them have a lot of merit. Councilmember Gina Gregory had it right when she said the city needs to become more efficient. The City of Mobile needs to reevaluate every department and account for every dollar.

Our first act would be to call for a “complete audit” and find out where the money is going…and went. This would include every discretionary fund currently on the books. Once the audits are completed, they should be made available to the public and a hearing held to answer questions on the results. Remember, it is the elected officials that answer to the people…not the other way around.

In our opinion, we should do two things. First, let’s start running the City of Mobile like a business instead of a political quagmire. Second, get back to basics. Spend our money only on projects that will give us a return on our investment. To rephrase the old saying from Harry Truman, “The Buck Stop Here”, the city’s new motto should be, “The Buck Stops”.

Tom Peters, one of the most insightful authors on business, once said, “Winners must learn to relish change with the same enthusiasm and energy that we have resisted it in the past.” Who is going to emerge as the “Winner” from our City Council? We know who we think it will be.

Stay tuned.

10
Apr
10

Where Did The Money Go?

Well, we haven’t had much to report on for a while.  We don’t post items just to make us feel good, but when something becomes noteworthy we feel obligated to jump in with our assessment of the situation.  After all, our mission at City Watch PAC is to call attention to city government trying to follow the lead on Capitol Hill in relieving you of your money or your property…or both.

We figured that once the sun came out and warmer temperatures were the norm instead of the exception that City Hall would soon be trying to get back into the taxpayers pockets…one way or another.  It would appear we didn’t have to wait very long for a crisis to manifest itself.   We are barely out of “Blackberry Winter” and the mayor has already said the city must have an additional 1% sales tax to save the city from certain doom and gloom.

We are still a little confused how the city could be in a financial mess to the tune of some $15,000,000.  It was just a short time ago they were handing out dollars for almost every special interest group, beatification project, or charitable group that asked for a donation.  And don’t forget about all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on consultants over the past couple of years.  It is not the first time we have asked. “Where did all the money go”…so we will ask again, “Where DID all the money go?”

In our opinion; pet proects, charities, special interest groups and individuals that receive money from the city should be held accountable for the money they receive.  If the city is not sure where the money was spent, then the city has every right to ask for an accounting of the funds that were provided.  I would hate to know that hard earned taxpayer money has been spent on unrealistic fact-finding trips, extravagant meals, stays in luxury suites, parties, 1st Class air fare, limousine services or other such expenditures.  Remember, some things can be quite legal, but may also be extremely unethical.    I remember growing up that if my folks were having a tough time financially, then we didn’t take a vacation that year.  Our elected officials would do well to take this advice to heart.

There is no doubt in our mind the city council is well into the blame game and we can also imagine the finger-pointing is at an all time high.  Some are probably claiming they were mislead by those who prepared the budget when they voted on the equivalent     of our own “Stimulus Bill”.  By that we mean spending other peoples money that you don’t have yet.   Some may even claim they should have been informed, in advance, of this terrible mess that has fallen on our fair city.  Well, here is a shocking word for our Mayor and City Council members.  YOU WERE INFORMED!

When the budget is laid before you, it is your responsibility to read every page and to account for every dollar.  If you don’t understand something, then ask someone to explain it to you.  If you need more information, keep requesting it until you have all the facts.  By voting on a budget that you did not fully understand is, in our opinion, a violation of your oath of office.  Now to clean up for your mistakes, the entire population of Mobile may have to endure more taxes.  The $15,000,000 shortfall is squarely at City Hall’s feet.

Our Mayor and City Council members were elected to do a very tough job.  They were elected to make the hard decisions.  They were elected to be leaders and to put the citizens of Mobile first.  Now, look in the mirror and tell me if you think you have lived up to your oath to the people of Mobile.  At some point you have to take off your campaign hat and put on your leadership hat…that time should be now.

Quick prediction.  Someone at City Hall will end up being the scape goat of this whole budget mess and you can bet it won’t be the Mayor or any of the Knights that sit at the round table.  Someone probably needs to dust of their resume as a 1% sales tax increase has all the makings of Mobile’s very own Tea Party.

That’s all for now, but coming up we will look at the some interesting “intel” from City Hall and we will look at how to possibly save the budget without layoffs, salary cuts, or the 1% sales tax.

By the way it is time to start a “Let’s Have An Audit” campaign.  Let’s find out where all the money went!




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