Dependable Erection

Monday, December 10, 2007

This is stupid

The latest attempt to expand City Manager Patrick Baker's authority to sign contracts has come up short, officials on both sides of the on-again, off-again argument say.

Supporters of giving Baker the authority to sign service, purchasing and construction contracts worth up to $150,000 without advance permission from the City Council have shelved plans for a showdown on the issue this month.

The decision came because one of the people they were counting on to support the proposal, Councilman Howard Clement, signaled that he wouldn't do so at this time.

Clement said for now, a majority of the City Council wants to preserve the panel's role in reviewing small contracts.

"There is sufficient concern on the council that the manager needs our help in making these kinds of decisions," Clement said. "We don't have the confidence that he has the sufficient capacity to make those decisions with respect to expanded contract authority."

City Council meets but four times a month. Under our charter, the manager is responsible for the day to day operation of the city. A situation in which the manager doesn't have the council's confidence to do his/her job is inherently unstable. Whose advantage is it to continue this status quo? Especially when we end up playing games like this:
Baker tested his authority last week by authorizing one of his deputies, Ted Voorhees, to sign a $113,000 contract that will speed work to link an abandoned quarry off Denfield Street to the city water system.

The ongoing drought has officials eager to tap the water that's stockpiled in the quarry. Baker's decision allowed the work to get started by Dec. 17 and made it possible for the water to start flowing by year's end.

Had he stuck to policy and put the contract into the council's regular queue, elected officials likely wouldn't have voted on the request until late January, Woodard said.

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  • Sheesh. Wonder if this has anything to do with mountains of unspent bond money....

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 5:03 PM  

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