Friday, January 04, 2013

Nothing was delivered

Nothing was delivered
And I tell this truth to you,
Not out of spite or anger
But simply because it's true.

Now, I hope you won't object to this,
Giving back all of what you owe,
The fewer words you have to waste on this,
The sooner you can go.

That pretty much sums up last night's city council meeting.

The anticipated appearance of secretary to the mayor Anthony Roberts to answer questions about the President Obama bust didn't happen.

It seems as though (per Council President Holly-Ward) Mr. Roberts never acknowledged the council's invitation to appear. Nor did Roberts acknowledge the Business Administrator's inquiries about whether he would appear.

And then the secretary to the mayor "called off sick."

Nothing is better, nothing is best,
Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.

No opportunity to explain how contributions were solicited; how the foundry (in St. Louis) was chosen; who gave the secretary to the mayor the authority to approve a purchase order for the base. 

Nothing was delivered
But I can't say I sympathize
With what your fate is going to be,
Yes, for telling all those lies.

The other big draw tonight was the introduction of a (revised) ordinance to reduce the mayor's salary.

Now you must provide some answers
For what you sold has not been received,
And the sooner you come up with them,
The sooner you can leave.
As you will recall, the last attempt was stymied when East Ward Councilwoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, who voted in favor of the ordinance the first time, voted against it at second reading and against an override of the mayor's veto.

Reynolds-Jackson's arguments were a mishmash of things and she kept saying it needed to be reworked to clarify the language. She cited state Senator Shirley Turner's public comments AND introduction of a motion to amend the NJ constitution to call for the suspension of pay for indicted officials.

Although the East Ward representative never came forward with any revisions of her own, the ordinance was reworked to reflect her concerns and directly quotes Senator Turner.  Reynolds-Jackson still voted against the new version.

Nothing is better, nothing is best,
Take heed of this and get plenty rest. (Now you know)

The regular business of council was the review and adoption of the items on tonight's docket.

The purpose of docket review is to go over the items before the governing body. That is the time when questions are asked, explanations given (by the administration) so that the council members understand what they are acting on and why it is before them.

It has been a hallmark of the Mack administration, through all of the BA's, the short tenure of the Chief of Staff, and the various and sundry acting department heads, that there is seldom anyone present to offer explanations or illuminations to council on docket items. Without proper back up and/or explanations, there is no reason for council to act. This is how things are let go until the last possible moment. Or later.

This is how the city runs out of toilet paper.

Tonight, yet again, there was no one present to answer any questions that the governing body might have. No one, that is, except for Superintendent of the Sewer Authority Joe McIntyre.

Three items were pulled from the docket because there was no one present to answer questions. Three items that will be postponed until...?

Nothing was delivered
And it's up to you to say
Just what you had in mind
When you made ev'rybody pay.

One of the items pulled was a change order to an existing contract with Hatch Mott MacDonald.  HMD is listed as a contributor to the Obama bust. There are two other companies currently doing business with the city that are listed as contributors.

Councilman Zac Chester raised the question of whether these donations towards the bust violate the city's Pay-to-Play ordinance. He had asked this last month and had not received an answer. Tonight he was told by attorney Peter Cohen that the matter had not yet been reviewed.

No, nothing was delivered,
Yes, 'n' someone must explain
That as long as it takes to do this
Then that's how long that you'll remain.
The question was put to us earlier, "Just what did council accomplish last night?"

As with so many meetings over the past two and a half years, the bare minimum was done.

Nothing is better, nothing is best,
Take heed of this and get plenty rest.


Robert Elliott Chilson said...

Hey hey hey, poetry is my department! LOL just kidding, great work!

Anonymous said...

Love the Dylan. Basement tapes is a truly great, underappreciated album.

One quibble: I could be wrong, but I do remember that the Chief of Staff attended every Council meeting. Admittedly, he was there for so short a time, it really doesn't matter.

What ever happened to Mr. Sigmund???

Old Mill Hill said...

As you say, Mr. Sigmund's tenure was so short it is hard to remember whether he actually showed up or not. Or what he might have added to the proceedings.

Last we saw him, he was sipping a beer at McManimon's Pub in South Trentont. That was about a year ago.