Discourage or Ignore Manzanita Citizens If Necessary

Submitted By: rkinor@gmail.com – Click to email about this post
In an attempt to offer examples of the City Hall staff efforts to provide administrative support for the operation of our Water Fund the City Manager claimed “ the water system, they pay their own insurance premiums on their property. Who negotiates that? That would be me, who is involved in that?, me and Nina .. one example of a million things.”

I emailed the City Manager and asked if she could confirm that the above insurance premiums that she claimed to have negotiated for the water system property were for the property and liability coverage with City County Insurance (CIS). No response.

I asked if she could provide the year and month that these negotiations took place and who at CIS she had conducted these negotiation with. No response.

Since the City Manager indicated that the Accounting Manager had been involved in these negotiations, I emailed the Accounting Manager and asked if she could briefly describe her role in these negotiations including who at CIS was involved and when this took place. No response.

Failing to get any answers, I contacted the Property/Causality Trust Director for CIS and asked if a city can negotiate with CIS over costs for insurance coverage. The answer was “ We do not negotiate the cost of coverage”.

The City Manager also stated “we process significantly more invoices to the tune of about 50% of all of the financial transactions that occur in the City are for the water department and that is clearly indicated in the analysis that shows in the Materials and Services.”

A simple fact check of water department invoices processed by City Hall staff are nowhere near 50% of the annual Material and Services transactions claimed by the City Manager and is yet another exaggeration of City Hall support services to justify transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars of Water Fund revenue to the General Fund.

The City Manager claimed “other cities that I have worked in all have used an indirect cost method.” Since the City Manager’s resume only indicates previous city employment with one city, I emailed the City Manager and asked what other cities she has worked in and also in what capacity that would have allowed her to be this knowledgeable about their overhead allocation and budget policies to make this statement? No response.

This is not the first time that I had pointed out factual misstatements made in a public meeting by the City Manager and asked that she simply correct the public record so that citizens were not being mislead. In a response to this request, she emailed the Mayor and Council stating that I or apparently other citizens who point out her public misstatements are making “personal attacks” on her and she advises “we must discourage or even ignore them if necessary”.

The above instances of non responses to simple questions seeking clarification of her public statements on important community topics seems to confirm the City Manager’s determination to discourage and ignore those citizens that are asking questions that she does not have answers for. This is a clear instance of blacklisting. Citizens who are considered by a particular authority or group to a problem because of their insistence that public officials communicate truthfully should be relegated to second class status in their community. This policy would seem to extend to instructing other City staff to also follow her lead.

The routine misstatements and exaggerations are in themselves troubling. The boldness of any public official however, that suggests that they are entitled to recommend ignoring or discouraging any citizen in our community who seeks to hold them accountable for their statements is stunning.

Randy Kugler