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 Ortonville is too heavy in administration and this is where we need to cutback

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PostSubject: Ortonville is too heavy in administration and this is where we need to cutback   Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:00 pm

Did anyone else hear that President's O'Bama believes that cities and states need to increase police as part of the economic recovery and the fed's will assist cities who hire additional police.

Then I heard again that the city administrator is recommending further cutbacks in law enforcement. Is he serious? We are going to turn away federal money so we can pay higher local taxes to keep an administrator?

Something is not right. I hope the Mayor has the common sense to cut pay for the city administrator. He obviously is not doing his job.
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PostSubject: Government cutbacks   Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:06 pm

I agree that something needs to be done with the way the City's government is functioning. The City Clerk/Administrator is clearly not performing at the level one would expect from an individual in such a position. At times it appears that he is almost derelict in his duties. Unfortunately, he has convinced the majority of the council that he's doing everything that is expected of him and, to paraphrase one councilmember, he {the clerk/administrator} is the best thing to come along in quite a while.
For most of my adult life I have been involved in administration, personnel management, and fiscal caretaking...at every level, from that ofclerk/typist to being in charge of a staff of over 25 people providing services to over 5,000 people. I can state with some experience that this person leaves much to be desired. It's time for the council to take some positive action...show some leadership.
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PostSubject: City Administration costs are too high   Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:50 pm

City Administration costs are too high

After a very vibrant exchange a few weeks ago we decided that we should talk to business and citizens of Ortonville to see what they feel about law enforcement and budget cuts.

Over 70% of businessmen and citizens felt that the current city administrator was over paid and had negative comments about his administration costs.

They were very verbal about his lack of credibility especially with his handling of the city money.

The police department has enormous support from businesses. We remain concerned about law enforcement decreases in the wake of the power plant expansion and how law enforcement may be effected as efforts to regionalize continue.

Every one I talked to said they were aware of the cutbacks a few years ago and believe that it is time to trim elsewhere.

Here is a copy of the study conducted a few years ago that the business community supported:

Police Recom p.1

Police Recommendationp.3

Police Recom. p.2

Police Recom. p.4

Most citizens and businesses in our informal survey feel that the department is not the problem and want cutbacks in the area of city administration. The current city administrator is not popular with its citizens and is not perceived to be efficient.

I will deal with some of the reason for this tomorrow.
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PostSubject: We are too heavy in administration   Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:27 pm

This next post deals with being heavy in administration at city hall and the general consensus of the business and citizens of Ortonville.

There is a general consensus that the current majority in the city is not listening to its citizens. Attending and speaking at a city council is at best hopeless because it is perceived that speaking from the public slot allotted is displaced with the issue one may wish to speak. My frank observation of speaking from the public slot is the way I would be treated if I lived in St. Paul. The citizens almost uniformly believe that this is the time the council sleeps because what is said at this time seldom appears to influence the council. Citizens have told me that the citizens feel it is a waste of time.

The public has a laundry list of credibility issues with the city administrators but the citizens are afraid that speaking against the administrator will result in retribution. Complaints from the public include, when is the city administrator at work, why does he not live in Ortonville and the city administrator puts his needs first.

This last issue has resulted in severe credibility issues with the city administrator. At issue is a complaint raised by Mr. Dorry and Ms. Horman that the city administrator wrongfully charged the city a trip from Granite Falls to Ortonville which was personal in nature because he lives in Clarkfield and makes a unpaid trip every day from Clarkfield to Ortonville. However on this date he charged the city because the administrator had business in Granite Falls.

Interestingly enough, the mayor’s tabling of this matter and treating it as a tax issue has resulted in a credibility issue between the mayor’s friends and clients. Now it is starting to appear as a cover up of a bad act and the entire event is mushrooming.

The most common complaint I heard was that why it takes three people to do the work it used to take one. Another comment repeated as almost a joke was the comment that the city needs a pay equity study. Citizens laughed because it took one woman to do the job it is now taking a man and two other women. These were not employees but citizen observations.

Before giving a proposal the Mayor and the city council need to investigate why the Chamber of Commerce has a $6000.00 savings account and still requesting money from EDA and does EDA have a savings account.

I am borrowing from the a member of the forums who wrote and proposed a way to reach budget with minimum harm to the city. Please examine this below and this makes a lot of sense:

Cost Area Action Decrease

City Shop Spread cost over 3 years $100,000.00
Police squad car Extend replacement period $2,500.00
Fire trucks Extend replacement period $3,000.00
Civil defense Reduce amount

1. Budget reductions to consider

Streets Reduce equipment outlay $25,000.00
Sidewalks Reduce maintenance outlay $2,000.00
Snow removal Reduce equipment outlay $2,000.00
Traffic signs Reduce Supplies & Signs $750.00
Swimming pool Accept recommended amount $9,549.00
Senior Citizen Center Reduce # of hours open $1,000.00
Parks Eliminate truck outlay $2,000.00
Parks Reduce equipment outlay $1,000.00
Economic Development Reduce to 2008 level $27,258.00
Misc. other {49030-449}Reduce by half $19,375.00
Airport Reduce to 2008 level $2,474.00
Golf Accept recommended amount $7,600.00

Total recommended cuts: $206,506.00

2. The below listed recommendations may give the City a one-time
infusion of revenue to help during the period of budget shortfall:
- EDA property on Hwy. 75. This has been held for a very long
time and it may serve the community better if it were sold. $50,000.00
- Park on Peninsula. The nearby property owners may not like
this, but the park doesn't seem to be used very much, and it
would bring the property onto the tax rolls. $50,000.00

3. A short-term fix would be to put the Lakeside Park project $320,000.00
on hold, if the granting authority agrees with a revised plan.
I believe that, if handled properly, the granting authority would
agree. Considering the present budget climate, I don't think it
would jeopardize Ortonville's chances for future grants.

4. And lastly, the City Council owes it to the citizens of Ortonville
to take a hard look at the administrative staffing of the City.
There are big problems there, and they need to be dealt with.

This coupled with the post on the police department demonstrates that we should maintain our police department.

Finally, the proponents of the city administrator lend support by claiming significant gains in economic development. However in a post almost two weeks ago we asked if this is a good definition of economic development. By the way this is economic development 101. There was no objection to the following definition:

1. Does the expenditure tend to increase population.
2. Does the expenditures tend to create long term jobs.
3. Does the expenditures increase long term revenue for the entity, including increasing value of real estate.

We should not minimize the accomplishments, but neither should they be
exaggerated. Few of the projects are economic developments. They are grants received by a variety of places that include playground equipment and other purchases. By definition they are not economic development.

With that being said, the general consensus of the citizens and businesses of Ortonville believe that the current administrator would make a great grant writer but as an administrator there are gross deficiencies in his job as city administrator.
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