Saturday, January 19, 2008

Compromise Proposal for Wilmer

Okay, it's a given: everyone wants Wilmer to continue. What would be the best way to ensure a better future in the coming election? Engage some vision of the future.
Add a comment to the blog - speak your mind if you have one!

It depends on what the grand jury and the courts decide about indicting our sitting council members and the fate of City Administrator Thom Lauer. If the status quo is maintained until the election with Lauer in place, it is highly likely that the current balance of power might shift, but with few changes in the day to day business. This issue should top the incoming council's "To Do List".

Once the City Administrator position is vacant, the duties fall upon the Mayor by statute and this should be considered a transition period to re-form the City government from the ground up. Maybe we need a city manager or strong mayor to serve in the future. We must evaluate how to best serve the interests of the citizens in a financially responsible manner (as opposed to the interests of the city employees or council members).

We've got to get an outside financial audit - the City's audit firm isn't performing well enough to continue keeping the accounts much less auditing the results. We've got to get a records audit and keep proper and up-to-date records and make them available.

Run the full set of conflict of interest documents against all employees and contractors. Also run the full set of statutory guidelines against all positions for bonding requirements. Eliminate "the potential appearance" of any statutory conflicts.

Re consolidate the Wilmer Fire Department. Eliminate Volunteer Services in favor of professional services. We need first responders, not we-can-get-there-after-Hutchins or Ferris turns out wannabe volunteers. We simply can't imagine Eugene Lowe with a live fire hose.

Restructure the Wilmer Police Department. Forget staffing for highway enforcement. Forget the patrol and detective divisions. Forget leaning on the police and courts to generate revenue for the city. Patrol using surveillance cameras - get video upgrades. Retire old equipment and replenish for new staffing levels.

Untangle the Public Works and Water departments - mandate work orders and authorizations. Log equipment time & mileage. Look into outsourcing all the Water department functions. Get new tires for the backhoe and have them sharpen the blades on the lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Eliminate the court and judge - re institute the Mayor as 24x7 on-call magistrate. Keep a full time clerk. Retire, rescind or transfer service on outstanding or unserviceable warrants. Clear the dockets.

Reconsider the City's operating cost in both the Library and the Senior Activity Center relative to the public benefits actually received.

The City has no Civil Engineer - get one or outsource it to a licensed professional.
Maybe we can actually have a legally compliant zoning and development plan for a change.

Drastic measures? Certainly, but if Wilmer is to flourish some plan of action must be undertaken an the near term to make larger, more far-reaching changes in the future. Objectively, change is inevitable. It would be a lot less trouble to discorporate (dissolve) the City of Wilmer than to fix it. The COMMUNITY we call Wilmer won't disappear - just the folks that run the governing body and the employees who mostly don't live in Wilmer anyway.