Saturday, January 23, 2010

Financial Irresponsibility

First, they voted themselves a gold-plated health insurance perk. Not a raise, mind you, but a "benefit". Then there were the "Bonuses Paid before Roads Paved". And we won't even go near the smell of a 40% increase in the City Attorney's budget (to over three hundred and fifty thousand dollars) without putting those services up for competitive bid.

And now, for the second time, the City Council is hell bent on a getting a paid vacation--a "retreat"--using our money to pay the tab. This time they're not staying in the city, nor the county, nor even the state. This junket is headed to Franklin, Tennessee. The name alone conjures up wisdoms like "a penny saved is a penny earned"---a concept foreign to our council members who are unburdened by fiscal prudence. What irony.

And our city mouthpiece, Warren "5K" Hutmacher, tells the AJC "interesting parallels will inform the retreat with benefits that could not be obtained by staying within the city". Given that the entire sentence is borderline incoherent, it is difficult to understand what ole 5K is really saying but it sounds like we have an incompetent City Council that cannot look around the city we live in, identify our problems and fix them. At least not without having someone else show them how--hence the obviousness of the incompetence. If they would spend some of the effort and resources dedicated to themselves on making Dunwoody better for us all, they just might find they like it here.

So the question remains: is it just a paid vacation or is there something else? Do they expect to see how effective Franklin is at Toll-Trolling I-65 to glean ideas on how Dunwoody can improve its own trolls? Do they want a real town center to copy (after all, how original is "williamsburg")? If so they need not go as far as Nashville. (Somehow the fact that Franklin is only 20 miles from the Grand Ole Opry didn't make it into the press release.)  Since Franklin does allow chickens in the city limits, maybe our decision makers will finally visit a backyard poultry operation. Or perhaps Franklin council members have a platinum retirement program and our council is looking for some "how to" guidance. And if they were serious about paving a road, fixing a drain or pouring a sidewalk, they could pack a lunch and take a day trip to Decatur where the county can show them how it is done.

But if they would really like to learn something important, they should visit a small town in Massachusetts. There they can see what a voter uprising looks like. Or perhaps if we, the taxpayers, spend just a little bit more on this junket we can make sure the council and mayor have a one way trip.