The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shouldn't the City Administrator be the Chief Accountability Officer?



How three items on Monday's council agenda were handled caused me to wonder whether City Administrator Eric Berry shouldn't be held more accountable by the council as the Chief Executive's chief executive.

Two of the matters (the ShotSpotter program and the purchase of a prefab concession stand for the Rock Avenue fields) concern how contracts are negotiated and executed.

With relation to both the ShotSpotter program and the concession stand there are questions about the watchfulness of the Robinson-Briggs administration in the expenditure of taxpayer monies that rise above the level of the individual nominally responsible for the project (Director Hellwig in the ShotSpotter case; Recreation Supervisor Wynn with regard to the concession stand).

Shouldn't the City Administrator be raising the issue of whether ShotSpotter payments should be made at all unless the system is functioning as per the negotiated agreement? 

Shouldn't the City Administrator be responsible for seeing to it that no plans to purchase a prefab concession stand are presented to the Council without including the engineering and prep work contracts that are a necessary correlate?

With regard to the Chief Financial Officer position, it is one of the most important -- and constitutionally required --
appointments Mayor Robinson-Briggs has to make. Is it really Director Restaino's responsibility to solve this conundrum? I don't think so. This one is so important that the Chief Executive's chief executive officer ought to be on the hook for it -- and that means City Administrator Berry.

Someone, somewhere has to be responsible for making sure every 't' has been crossed and every 'i' dotted.

I can think of at least three past City Administrators who would have seen to it that their department heads and they themselves were prepared when questions by the Council arose -- Tom Morrison, Norton Bonaparte and Dave Kochel. That level of accountability has sadly been lacking in recent months.

When Council President Adrian Mapp got to the discussion of the status of the Chief Financial Officer search at Monday's council meeting, City Administrator Eric Berry nodded to Director Al Restaino to come to the table.

I thought to myself, 'Shouldn't Berry be the Chief Accountability Officer and not the Chief Kick-the-Can-Down-the-Road Officer?'


-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.

4 comments:

Bob said...

We are getting more of the same from Robinson-Briggs and you would think, that since she wants to be mayor again, good luck with that, she would be more responsible. Not a chance! I'm glad the City Council is paying attention. I'm not so hopeful in the future with Annie leaving and Brown coming in. I am seriously concerned for Plainfield. I really can't wait for this mayor to be out of office, and hopefully, out of politics.

Anonymous said...

Shooting at the Family Research Council.

Well Dan, you were hot to trot to try and link Sarah Palin to Giffords shooting.

It has just been confirmed that Family Research Council shooting suspect Floyd Corkins II had been volunteering at the DC Center for the LGBT Community for the past six months.

I'm sure you will be silent here. No outrage?

Nat said...

If I Only Had A Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nauLgZISozs :
(Scarecrow)
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain

I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain

(Dorothy)
With the thoughts you'd be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain

(Scarecrow)
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean's near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I'd sit and think some more

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain

Anonymous said...

A brain is desperately needed in the mayor's office. Somebody in city hall needs to be accountable!