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Quest for Transparency

Hello everyone,

I can be wounded. Yes, I have thick skin; I am tough.  But like Achillis, I have a vulnerability.  It happens all the time. At the grocery store, the health center, in my emails and even in the Christmas cards I received this year.  The worst thing anyone can do to me is to say, "I feel so much better knowing you are watching over the city finances."  I get this all the time--in council, from friends, and from people I don't even know.  And it wounds me because I know that our city is not okay.  I know that our finances are not in good hands.  I have seen things I cannot abide. And I do not know what to do about it.

If someone in the city tells you everything is fine, they don't know. I don't care who it is. They have not poured over the reports and documents that I have. They have not tried to cross reference figures on the treasurer's reports.  They have not caught mistakes that were in excess of  $100,000.  I have seen bags of cash with little oversight or accountability.

I cannot go into every piece of misinformation that has been delivered to me by the city staff officers. And I cannot always distinguish between a lie and gross incompetence. But I can tell you that our city finances are not being accurately reported.  I can tell you that the council and therefore the public are not getting good information regarding our finances.  The staff officers are simply providing misinformation. And sometimes it benefits them personally.  It has affected residents with high and improper utility bills.  I am sure it cost the city itself thousands of dollars last year.

So if I help people sleep at night thinking their tax dollars are being counted--and not slipping into pockets or undeserved income, I cannot be the one who gives you that false sense of security.  And I can't be the one who spends my weekends finding the erroneous numbers amongst the true figures, I can't be the one who researches the falsehoods spoken during the council and finance meetings. If my very existence on council gives people a false sense of security, this letter may put you ill at ease.

As of thirty minutes from now, I am resigning my seat on the city council, personnel and finance committees.

Thanks for listening,


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