I can tell everyone this today. There are some pretty ticked off Montesano City Council Members right now.
When the council votes on something that is presented to them, they first ask questions, listen to the staff and then vote. Believing that what they are voting on is actually what they are voting on. In the case of this recent hot topic, the Waterfront Sale….it obviously wasn’t.
They were told exactly what I and everyone else was told. The sale was greatly advertised to attract bidders and get the best price as well as covenants to guarantee public access for all time. The developer would spend tons of money on shoreline improvement. More.
While we could argue the merits of selling waterfront property at any price, that is a policy argument.
So the council voted, assuming that what they were told was the truth.
As a result of the two last editions of the Vidette, front page above the fold, revelations that none of it was true, there are some on the council looking into this.
It is my opinion that they should be out front making statements, it isn’t just me writing about this anymore. But, that is their right.
The council is a part time position. They have lives, we don’t pay them enough to cover gas. The Mayor is a part time position, we barely pay gas and lunch there. The entire backstop that looks out for us as the citizens is a volunteer organization that relies on what the city workers tell them.
Thats how we got into this mess.
It is obvious we can’t continue this way. Just look at the other mess that cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and good will. The employee investigations. Part time people trying to do the job of a professional trained city manager. We currently have a city administrator, but that position is a paperwork office position, not a city manager.
We have come to the point that I believe we need to change up how we operate around here.
By hiring a professional City Manager, both the council and Mayor office now would have one professional that can see through BS when he or she sees and hears it – head off employee issues and correct them, and ensure that paperwork and council directives are followed.
It would probably cost us no more than $50,000 a year. A lot of money, but again in my opinion, well worth it.
While a formal investigation of this waterfront sale is going to happen, more will be coming to light, we could have avoided the entire situation had we a professional manager in place.
There is no way on earth six out of seven Montesano City Council members would have voted to just basically give away our city waterfront if they had known the facts. I truly believe that.
The question now is, will the council first take the steps required to restore the public trust in the city departments that failed us as citizens so badly – and will they move to fix the broken system that allowed this to occur in the first place. What should be giving the council great concern at this moment is that is appears that there was a great effort taken to make sure that the sale they authorized was not advertised to the general public. Great concern.
Arguing over things they do is a normal part of government. That is to be expected. They were probably looking at me complaining about the waterfront sale like I was crazy. After all, they were told the city had protected itself.
Now that they realize that I wasn’t making it all up, perhaps they will take citizen concerns a little differently.
I don’t hold it against any of them for the treatment I received over this issue the last two and a half years, I understand their reasoning. They must feel pretty used about now.
Our Mayor’s office and elected City Council are part time volunteer positions. They are not able to oversee such a large budget and supervise employees. Just too many details. They need help and a voice that they can trust to both protect themselves from situations like this as well as protect the city itself.
Should heads roll over this waterfront deal? In my opinion you better believe it. Who at the city was pushing this? Who made the decision to ignore the council directive that the sale be widely advertised? In one swoop, our entire city waterfront is now gone. And we as the citizens of Montesano have got squat to show for it.
The Mayor and council members are good people. I only hope they have the good sense to use this as an opportunity to realize that there is more to running a city than putting out a few yard signs. Help is out there, I am sure the citizens wouldn’t mind one more employee to make sure a situation like this waterfront never…..ever…happens again.
Oh, and one more thing. If we go this route, can we please make sure that the most qualified person doesn’t just happen to be someone’s relative at the city.