Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

For some folks, the New Year means resolutions. Had I been elected mayor, here are some resolutions/changes I was going to propose, in no particular order:

* Approve payment for invoices BEFORE they are paid; not after.

* Change the $5,000 report to $1,000. A lot of bills can be paid for under $5,000 that can add up to really big bucks that miss public scrutiny. (This report used to be $500., but was changed, without commission approval, a few years ago when ECP came into existence). How convenient.

* Concerning the above report: Quit combining all utility bills together under one lump sum. Break it out like it used to be so the public can see what departments are paying what amounts for services.

* Ask that all advisory boards give at least quarterly reports concerning their activities. We NEVER hear from most of the boards, and as far as the others are concerned, we only hear from them when they want money.

* Require that city staff give the pros AND cons of suggested projects. Right now, we only hear about the up-side to everything proposed. There is no such a thing as a win-win situation when the government is involved.

* ALWAYS allow enough time at work sessions for public comment.

* Don't schedule a work session about an actionable commission agenda item on the same night it is scheduled to be acted upon. This minimizes public involvement.

* Get the microphone system fixed in Commission Chambers and then speak into it!

* Gavel Brett Doney (director of the Great Falls Development Authority) as out of order when he mentions for the umpteenth time "shove-ready" projects. Just kidding, but in this article from USA Today, "shovel-ready" is one of the words that has been included in the '09 banned words list. Thank you Lake Superior State University's Word Banishment Committee.

* Require that city department heads (public servants) address their comments/responses at City Commission meetings to not only the Commission, but to the people they work for, the tax-paying public; those of us who pay their comfortable salaries.

* Under Old Business; require Coleen Balzarini, and any other department head, to have available, at the next regularly scheduled City Commission meeting, the answers to questions she/they couldn't or wouldn't answer at the previous meeting. No exceptions.

* Tell the city manager the Commission will have an office in the Civic Center where they can meet with the public. And no, it's not going to be a room tucked away in the bowels of the building or miles away from an elevator.

* LISTEN to Neighborhood Councils and quit leaving them out of the process. Invite them to participate in the budget process.

*Quit fooling around with the animal shelter. It's been 2 1/2 years that the police department has been running the show. It's more than time they focus all their energies and budget on public safety. After all, that's what we're paying them to do.

* Require that the ECP board, not Coleen Balzarini, give at least a quarterly "advisory" report to the Commission. Oops. I just remembered. This can't happen. Nobody currently on the board is qualified enough in public power to "advise". (Learning about power, public or otherwise, from Tim Gregori doesn't count).

* Give the city manager direction so he can start earning his pay.

* OBEY THE LAW! Yes. I'm primarily thinking of ECP when I say this.

If you have other ideas for improvements, please feel free to let us know what they are.


big sky husker said...

Happy New Year to you as well. A suggestion. You may want to cut down your suggestions to 4 or 5. All of them are good, but some are more important than others. My first resolution would be to fire Balzarini. Doney would be a close second. Neither of them have done one thing constructive since they started their jobs.

Anonymous said...

But you were NOT elected (thank God.)

Publius II said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I for one voted for Sandra Guynn and was disappointed she didn't win. I think ALL of your sugestions are excellent. I also second the opinion that Balzarini should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Well seeing that you were not elected mayor I guess your New-Years resolutions will go uncompleted

Anonymous said...

BS Husker betrays his ignorance - Doney does not work for the city. He answers to an independent board of directors.

Anonymous said...

Anaon 10:37

Yes, made up of several city commissioners and the good ole boy Lawton club all subsided by taxpayer funds to some extent or another (loans and annual dollar contributions for starters)!

Doney needs to go right along with Balzarini asap!

Anonymous said...


Very good to do list it is just too bad that nobody knew your intentions if you were to be elected mayor.

Hopefully, our now new mayor will at least read the list?

Great Falls Guy said...

Another suggestion for your list: How is it that cable public channel seven has been gutted to almost non-existence by Ms. Balzrini? This whole cable seven committee (which never meets) and its budgeting of the over $600,000 it receives annually needs a very close look-see as something here is very very fishy.....

big sky husker said...

Anon @10:37...

The point, moron, is Doney should be fired. Could care less who does it. Now... you can get bent.