Saturday, April 21, 2007



Now that the elections are over I hope the new council understands what their role in city government entails. In the past, some city councils have been rubber stamps for the administration and have cost taxpayers tremendous amounts of money. There sometimes has been a mindset that the city council was part of the administration. That is dangerous. This attitude does not allow for the oversight of the administration and creates a government that lacks the fundamental three branches of government. For a representative form of government to work properly there must be three branches. The administration, the legislative and the judicial. The city council is there to represent their constituents as the legislative branch, creating laws that enrich or protect our quality of life. The administrative branch is to carry out these laws. The judicial branch is to make sure the laws are followed.

Oversight by the legislative branch of the administration is another duty they are elected to fulfill. This role is crucial to protect the citizens from an over zealous administration that can and will be tempted to use your tax dollars to enrich political campaign contributors. The administrative branch will use pork projects to create work for engineering companies or change the cities fuel contract to help pay back a company for helping in the election. Keep in mind this goes on to some extent but a council that refuses to do their job and is just a rubber stamp for the administration will soon have the residents they represent outraged.

In the past the administration tried to reward some on the council for playing ball with special treatment purchasing trucks. I would bet there are a number of paybacks due with this past election. Some employees who used their constitutionally protected freedom of speech and placed a sign for the opponent of the newly elected will come under fire by the administration. This is the ultimate in the need for oversight. This should be questioned by both the newly appointed Director of Administration and the
City Attorney. We saw some paybacks with board appointments at the Tuesday council meeting when those on the council placed a person on a board who had sued the city and cost the taxpayers thousands in legal fees. That was a political payback by the Mayor.

In conclusion, our founding fathers created a system that allows for civil public discussion. Those newly elected should not be fearful of the Mayor and administration when asking questions. Those newly elected should be fearful of an electorate that is bright enough to know when they are being represented or when the rubber stamp is being used.