Mayor Garner thinks privatizing sanitation is the only viable option for relieving the city of the financial burden of a failing operation. CM Coffey and some other council members say there has to be a better way, though they've yet to produce a workable alternative.
Seems simple enough.
Service contracts such as sanitation are the purview of the mayor. He can choose to seek input from the City Council or not. If he chooses to engage them, one would think the council would offer alternatives and their relative merits could be argued.
Not in New Albany.
As classless as it is with the city's financial well-being and some individual jobs at stake, certain members of our council have chosen to use this opportunity to not only endanger an important public project but to challenge the mayor's competency, claiming that neither he nor his staff have the ability to comprehend financial statements. Mayor Garner says sanitation is running a deficit of $700,000-$900,000. CM Bill Schmidt claims it's only $34,000 (regardless of the fact that he soon thereafter inexplicably voted to appropriate $137,000 in economic development funds to sanitation). A source tells me that the very sheet of information that Schmidt used to prove his point at the last council meeting proves him wrong.
As a result, both Mayor Garner and CM Schmidt have been called liars and idiots.
Let's cut the crap.
MAKE THE NUMBERS PUBLIC.
If either side has confidence in their own abilities, there's really no excuse for not doing so. Why should citizens have to waste their energies trying to decipher who has credibility and who's just grandstanding? Give us the numbers. Some of us can read.
To that end, any newspaper that's covering this story or New Albany politics in general has a responsibility to seek and publish this and other relevant information. If a public official is fudging numbers or spinning facts to score points with a certain constituency at the expense of the majority, we need to know it. Thorough coverage of public affairs is the primary responsibility of any newspaper. It's not enough to tell us there's a dispute. It's your job to dig for the facts and challenge assertions. When I attend government meetings and public officials make statements on record that are patently untrue, I usually know it. Those who depend on your reporting for their information do not. You're enabling lies and deceit.
There have been several relevant questions asked on this and other blogs recently. Here's a list to get you started:
Give us the correct numbers for sanitation.
If his only motivation was to save sanitation, why did Bill Scmidt vote to appropriate more than $100K more than what he claims the deficit to be?
Why is sanitation, a basic city service, a proper repository for economic development funds? Is it?
Which government officials have a history of code violations?
Which government officials own rental properties?
Have those government officials who own rental properties followed proper procedure for renovations, repairs and zoning?
Is the ownership of multiple rental properties a conflict of interest when dealing with ordinance enforcement decisions?
Is it a conflict of interest for a sanitation employee to vote on funding for his department?
Why, when there is no apparent conflict of interest, is abstaining such a popular choice among council members? What repsonsibility do they have for actually making the decisions we elect them to make?
Good luck. We're waiting.