Who’s on First? City Government doesn’t know who is in charge.

The July 12th, 2012 Southeast Missourian covered the City of Marble Hill’s precarious position of not knowing exactly who is in charge of the City government.  The article entitled: “Marble Hill officials ironing out ordinance on who manages city personnel” states:

“MARBLE HILL, Mo. — An ordinance to transfer authority over city personnel to the Marble Hill board of aldermen did not get a chance to be read at the board’s meeting Monday night. It will take a special meeting in the near future to iron out some differences between the board and Mayor Michael Sowers before all concerned can agree on who can hire, fire and manage city personnel.

What Sowers presented to the board as an ordinance for its approval would have taken all administrative control from administrative assistant Tammy Whitney and given it to the board.

In the past few months, several board members have disagreed with decisions Whitney has made about city personnel. Aldermen have said they want more say in her decisions to hire, fire and especially to give raises.

Sowers said that Whitney has been doing her job, and that if the aldermen want more control over personnel matters, then the ordinance he had city attorney Alan Beus­sink prepare would give it to them. But, he said, he disagreed with the ordinance and would refuse to sign it, and the ordinance would sit for 30 days and then go on the city records by default.”

Ah, a textbook example of leadership by the mayor!  The strategy of this mayor seems to be that of  I don’t have the guts to sign it, but I’ll let it sit for 30 days until it becomes law by default and show you!

One has to wonder if this is City Government or the Simpsons!

The  real gem in this story is buried deep within the article which states:

“Shortly after Whitney was hired as administrative assistant, she began working on managing the city hall operations, cutting hours and benefits of some appointed officials, and eliminating such unneeded expenses as unused telephone lines and computer hookups. She said she saved enough in the city’s payroll account that she was able to give raises to some city employees and remain under budget. ”

Great, Ms. Whitney was able to cut waste, give raises and remain under budget.  Correct me if I’m wrong but under budget means you have a budget, and are keeping the City’s expenditures below the funds allocated for the operation of the City.  If this is the case , then how does it explain the following stories?

June 14, 2012 Banner Press reports:

” Water, sewer and trash rates in Marble Hill will go up beginning July 1. Monday night the board of aldermen voted — with Mayor Michael Sowers breaking a tie — to raise the rates over the next three years until the city is in compliance with the rate it must charge in order to be considered for any kind of state or federal funding for water and sewer improvements.”

June 14, 2012 Banner Press reports:

“It’s too late for Marble Hill to put redirecting a half-cent sales tax on the August ballot, but the city will try again, possibly in November.

Mayor Michael Sowers said next time the city will do a better job of explaining what the vote is about.

A recent measure failed by five votes. Aldermen Monday night said their constituents told them they thought the vote was either to abolish the sales tax altogether or to add another increase.

“People made the decision not knowing what it was,” Sowers said. “Even Channel 12 was telling everyone it was a tax proposal.”

City attorney Alan Beussink admitted that he could have been more clear when he wrote the ballot language and said he would be clearer on the next ballot. Some voters were confused by the way it was written.

The intent of the vote was to change where the half-cent sales tax would go within the city budget. Currently it goes into capital improvements. When the city abolished property taxes as a concession to pass the sales tax, it did not replace the lost revenue from the property taxes, but it cannot transfer money from capital improvement into general revenue, which is where they now want the sales tax to go. The city can transfer money from general revenue to capital improvement.”

According to City Hall, the City is under budget, however; the City doesn’t have the capital improvement funds to bring the city up to Department of Natural Resources compliance so the City wants to redirect the capital improvement funds to go into the General Revenue funds so that City Administrator Whitney can control them.

It conjures up the humorous image of a dog chasing its tail or the image that is conjured up from and old joke that involves some monkeys and a football.- Editor.

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

2 Responses to “Who’s on First? City Government doesn’t know who is in charge.”

  1. Hahaha! You my friend are a genius! Love Tammy Whitney she’s a great person but come on Mayor! It seemed he was throwing a tantrum!! Would love to see you do an article on the the Bollinger County Stray project! That woman is a former dog breeder and now that she has got her self a real nice dog kennel set up from several thousand dollars in donations she thinks she will just quit! would love someone to bring it to light that all these donations are gonna make her a pretty nice breeding facility! Thanks for starting this paper!! Looovvveeee it!!

    • Thanks for reading Tina and please feel free to tell your friends. As far as the Bollinger County stray project, I had a deal worked out with the SEMO Humane Society that would have eliminated the City Pound. For $1,200 a year the Humane Society would have taken every stray we had. This was deemed to expensive by my fellow council members and in the budget for the next year the City alloted $8000 for animal control.

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