consultants are sandburs

Saturday, January 05, 2013

RAMSEY: Transitioning into the New Year at city hall.

Agendas are now available for Tuesday's council work session and on camera meeting (hopefully work sessions may again be televised, along with Public Works and Finance Committee meetings), and for the council members changing hats to sit as HRA.

Online, here, here, and here, respectively.

Each of those links atop gives the option of downloading a full agenda, as a pdf document.

Oh no, another consultancy.

Read all about it, at the links, and/or per the pdf's.

The hope is no more million dollar babies, not from this one which looks more contained than an open ended opening of the city coffers, month-by-month, like clockwork.

The hope is too that the thing will be presented in full sunshine. By that, if anyone on staff or council has had prior dealings with the consultancy or its personnel, or friendships or political alliences are at play, that disclosure on television and in the minutes be given. Such a thing might be Kurt saying, "During my time in the Ventura administration this individual consulted and helped ... xxxyyyzzz ..."; however the chips actually might fall, be it city administrator, the mayor, or other staff or council members.

With Landform there was the Jungbauer tie when that cash drain relationship began, and it was obliquely disclosed by Matt Look, then on council, that "Senator Jungbauer" had his place in things. At the least that should be a norm going forward. The more sunshine such ties get, the better.

What do you make of this, from here, citizens?

The highlighted language reads:

[...] In the event that any Commissioner shall have a personal interest of any kind in a matter before the Board of Commissioners, as determined by the Ramsey City Attorney, the Commissioner shall be disqualified from voting upon the matter and the Secretary shall record in the Minutes that vote was not cast by said Commissioner.

That is from proposed bylaws of the HRA of our dear town, and it is a poke in the eye of good practice, with a very sharp stick.

Beyond that it mocks our town's recent history.

This does not say, " ... as determined in an open meeting by the City Attorney after full disclosure on the record is made in accordance with state statute on HRA conflicts of interest, ... " but it instead says far, far, far less; and serves, despite hindsight, to bless possible future "behind closed doors" remiss practices, as with the intentional public non-disclosure (i.e., total dead public silence) in the way the McGlone-Flaherty employment was kept hidden under a hat from the general Ramsey public until discovered by serendipity and publicized by a non-official.

This abrupt, insulting, and inadequate language is a gross insult to the public's right to know and judge its officials. The public's right should be acknowledged and enshrined in language unequivocally saying the public should be decently informed to judge for itself, on what the public's paid officials do that may present conflicts of interest and how the conflicts stand and get officially handled. If hidden behind closed doors, with the City Attorney saying, "Fine with me," across a table at city hall, or by phone with a conflicted individual, whatever, it insults the public's entitlement to have disclosure.

It is bad, and I hope an amendment is expressly offered and adopted, to the effect of the language I suggest, above, in quotation marks and red highlighting.

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