Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Dazed and Confused
Why, then, has the City Manager told the Main Street Director (who is supposed to answer to the DDA/Main Street Board) that the Main Street Program will NOT be offering memberships? Isn't that way out of the purview of the City Manager's responsibilities? Isn't the Main Street Program supposed to be run by members of our community? Isn't that decision within the purview of the Organization Committee of the Main Street Board? If DDA/Main Street is truly separate from the City as the mayor has maintained in other discussions then why in the world is the City Manager dictating its policy and decisions? What is going on?
Many members of the DDA have seen how Main Street programs are supposed to operate. Many came back to DDA meetings after seeing Main Street presentations all fired up and ready to start our own only to allow this mayor take over the program which is totally antithetical to the program. I don't get it.
At the last council meeting an employee of the water department asked for funding for an idea that came out of their employee suggestion program. I think it is great that the program exists since who better than the employees, the folks who work there every day, have a say in how to improve services. The mayor and council approved the funding for the suggestion. Great, right?
So why, then, did the mayor criticize certain members of the DDA who all own businesses or property in downtown Monroe (again who better to have a say in how to improve services) for voting on an issue that impacts them and their livelihoods directly? Why is it OK for the mayor to try to "steer" policy in other committees and in some cases votes on it in committee and then he votes on it again at council. I haven't seen him recuse himself for a conflict of interest but these other folks should have according to him. Hmm - interesting double standard.
Friday, March 25, 2005
You bet we have a great bunch of folks at City Hall coming in and doing their job every day under some difficult, at times, situations. It has got to be hard taking direction from somebody else every two years but many of the folks down there have worked through it every time. I don't want anyone to think this blog is a reflection on the people who work there so I'll try to be clearer about to whom I'm referring when I talk about the City.
My personal experience with City employees has always been very good for the most part and everyone has been very helpful. So Red is right - thank a City employee - a little Golden Rule goes a long way.
Really think about what is really going on and what is really being said.
Just because someone says something it doesn't mean its true these days, does it?
Just because something is legal to do doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.
Research, investigate, keep asking questions, agree or disagree.
Get involved, go to a council meeting, encourage each other to consider running for office.
Talk to you in a couple of days.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
American whiners throughout our history include women who actually thought they had a right to think and vote on their own, members of unions who believed they had a right to a fair wage and safe working conditions, ethnic minorities who believed they should be treated fairly and with respect, disabled people who believed they too should be treated fairly and with respect, and all the whiners who have created new laws to protect all of us. Matter of fact most of our political leaders all got their start as whiners and all of our greatest activists are whiners. All of these whiners were tired of being shut out or excluded in our own communities or country.
I started this blog fully a year after the this council was elected. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. But after watching for a year I believe there have been too many shortsighted and definitely one-sided decisions and they should be called on it. Whining? OK.
We have a representative government that is supposed to be responsible and accountible to the all of the people they represent. We elect representatives who we hope will become knowledgeable on all of the issues they vote on, seeing and understanding both sides and then voting their conscience not merely just wanting to be a "team player" or on the "winning side." We hope that we elect great leaders who build consensus and have the courage to reach out and bring people together to find solutions. Sometimes we don't always get that and that's when the whining begins. We, as citizens, deserve to have the best representatives and leadership we can get.
I am proud to join with my fellow American whiners and work for change and demand accountability. Whine on!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Council Meeting 3/22/2005
The real fun began with the "discussion" of the Parking Ticket Validation Program that up till now has been quietly getting it done for over ten years by the downtown business owners.
Councilperson Sabo opened the discussion by suggesting that the program be opened up to all downtown business owners regardless of whether or not they are a member of the DMBN (Downtown Monroe Business Network). Hmmm. I find his position curious on many levels 1) why now? since this program has been effect even when he was a Monroe city planner why does he suddenly have a problem with it? 2) since that opinion actually seems to be the mayor's take after having an epiphany when reading the DMBN's newsletter just last month (where's he been in regards to this program for the last ten years? 3) it seems that these downtown business owners/members have made a commitment to their customers and clients and recognized that they (the customers and clients) come first by signing a contract to abide by the rules of the program.
Appealing to the better nature of downtown employees and some business owners did not work and that is why the program was carefully developed and crafted in the first place. The downtown business owners identified a problem, came up with a solution and went to the city with their idea and then sat down together respectful to each other's needs and developed this successful program. The opposite seems to be happening here.
As my dad was watching the proceeding he commented that why should all the other businesses who are not members reap the benefits of the program without any of the responsibilities? He said any business that wants to validate their customers/clients tickets should also take a turn in the administration responsiblilties of the program as well. Good point Dad. But the mayor contends that it should be open to everyone and that whoever is doing the volunteering of administrating the program should just continue on. Hmm.
A lot has been said about the costs related to the program. In truth the actual costs have been borne by the DMBN. From contracts, to rules and forms, to thank-you for coming downtown postcards, to advertising, to marketing the program with $25 gift certificates and more - all of these costs (thousands of dollars over the length of the program) have all been borne by the DMBN member dues. Now they are supposed to continue providing those same benefits for nothing. That is ironic coming from a city administration that charges a fee for everything it does while being supported by taxpayer dollars.
I think, even though the DMBN has been portrayed as adverse to change, that they are open to any new approach to this issue but that it has to be well thought out and covers all the bases legally as it did before. Unfortunately it appears that has not happened. A lot of thought was given to the legal ramifications when the program was originally set up. Watching the proceedings last night it was apparent that the same consideration and preparation was not given this time around when a citizen asked City Attorney Laitur a question about the legal ramifications and responsibilities of non-members' contracts and he could not answer it.
You can argue the merits of who should administrate this program until you are blue in the face which is basically what it seemed Councilperson Wetzel was saying as she desperately just tried to have action taken last night to simply get an extension of the contract until all the parties could sit down and discuss this issue fairly and rationally. (Which, by the way, was what should have happened in the first place before ANY action was taken.)
Which brings me to what bothers me the most about this whole issue. It is the unprofessional handling of this issue by this mayor. When the mayor broached this subject a couple of weeks ago during his comments at council Councilperson Burkett asked if the DMBN knew about his desires and his reply while looking out into the audience was "they do now." I find his attitude toward that volunteer organization, that has done alot for downtown in the last ten years, disrespectful and offensive.
Apparently the mayor's only interaction with that group of volunteers/business owners is from his chair at the podium. So it is ironic that on the same evening he is lauded for his efforts over living wage (the moral issue about showing respect for our working force) he disrespects the downtown and property owners/citizens of his own community evidenced by his unwillingness to come together and talk BEFORE making all his pronouncements.
So one hand you have a mayor who, while professing that he wants to improve downtown, won't even come together with the very people it impacts directly. He makes decisons and pronouncements from his podium that affects their very livelihood while excluding them from any discussion or the decision-making process. And on the other hand you have a group of downtown business and property owners who volunteered their time, their money and their efforts to improve and enhance downtown for over ten years who don't understand why this mayor is treating them with so much disrespect.
Another interesting spin on this is Councilman Sabo and the mayor made a big deal about the unfairness of businesses having to be members of the DMBN to be able to validate a ticket. What set them off was that it was listed in their newsletter as a benefit of membership (and again why not since the dues are paying the bills of that program) but anyway not long ago the DDA/Main Street director was floating a proposal for membership in Main Street with three tiers of membership benefits at three different levels of MEMBERSHIP DUES. So it begs the question, what will be different about belonging to that organization that charges dues? Curious, don'tcha think?
Monday, March 21, 2005
A Little Background
What struck me about this statement was how it was an example of our mayor's handling of the development of our own Main Street Program. Before Mr. Iacoangeli became mayor he presented a plan to the DMBN for their consideration to become an integral part of Main Street. He did not go to the DDA with his proposal - why? - you'll have to ask him. The program he originally presented was inclusive of all the people impacted and included business & property owners, residents, banks, corporations, the city, the county and more. Just like it is outlined in the national Main Street program.
The DMBN took on his suggestion and became members of the national program and then progressed to talking to the DDA about the program. This is a program you can't do alone. The DDA then took on the responsibility of pursuing the program while the past city administration paid for city planner Laura Kreps to become an accredited Main Street director by sending her to classes in Washington, D.C. Mr. Iacoangeli never spoke again or offered his expertise or assistance to anyone about the program after that first and only meeting. In the meantime the DDA was figuring out how best to proceed, whether to go through the state program which had just been restarted or to go directly through the national program - there are pros and cons to both. That discussion, along with the best way to set up the Main Street Program to include all the stakeholders was all in the works when the election occured. Mr. Iacoangeli's assertion later that following year that his approach to getting Main Street going because nothing was happening was simply not true. How could he know since he never involved himself after that first meeting anyway?
There are quite a few great Main Street programs throughout the country. There is a particularly great one in Washington state. Yes, many do involve or incorporate their DDAs and many do not. After the election, there was not even the opportunity to discuss the best way to proceed even though it was drummed into everyone that you MUST have all of the community's input.
Mayor "I" decided to fast track the process and quickly decided that since "his/City" generous contribution to the program would be the Main Street accredited planner, it allowed him to call the shots - "his dime" so to speak. (Of course, what he doesn't seem to get is that the dime he is talking about actually belongs to the downtown business and property owners specifically and not him) And it is exactly these downtown business and property owners who have been effictively shut out of many of the subsequent and often times, shortsighted decisions.
The direct results of the mayor's decision to quickly take control of the program include 1) no discussion of the job description and who the Main Street Director answers to (keeping in mind that in a true Main Street program the director is an advocate for the downtown business and property owners and a public booster for downtown, NOT a city employee); 2) the Main Street office remained empty for five months (while taxpayers were paying rent) because the city planner/assigned Main Street Director was too busy doing city work; 3) instead of including and educating the community of this "wonderful" program (which is one of the top requirements for a true Main Street Program) by having a contest or at least including local artists in the design of the official logo, the whole thing was outsourced to an Ohio firm (yes, local artists did finally have an opportunity to submit designs only after some DDA members expressed outrage at the exclusion but the decision (again the mayor - the "his dime" thing again - because he paid for it out the mayor's budget) was pretty much all ready made.; 4) oh, and that accredited Main Street Director the program was supposed to have - well, she's still a planner at City Hall and a newcomer to Monroe and fresh out of college is the assigned director now; 5) the outsourced Main Street logo has already popped up on downtown events that they had very little to do with but the city made sure it was included.
A true Main Street Program is supposed to bring the entire community together from the bottom up. A true Main Street Program should involve and include all of the stakeholders in downtown and throughout the community. A true Main Street Program is NOT supposed to be run by the mayor and city administration. A true Main Street program has an autonomous board who hires an independent director/booster of downtown whose sole purpose is to promote downtown and bring volunteers together and does not have to answer to the city administration or mayor/council. A true Main Street Program has many communityPARTNERS, of which the city is only one of many, not the only one calling the shots.
How can anyone be asked to participate in the existing Main Street Program when it is obvious now that their voice will not be heard - that they are expected just to go along with the mayor's decisions because hey, he knows best and this council simply follows his lead.
How many stakeholders in downtown were asked about their take on making E. First St. two-way? How many stakeholders in downtown were asked their opinion of the parking ticket validation program before the decision to terminate the contract was summarily made? How can you present the Main Street Program as representative of downtown by excluding everyone in it while making decisions that affect them directly?
While researching the Main Street Program I envisioned a program where people from all over our community would come together, identify the good things and the bad, and then work together to find solutions - a little participatory democracy. What I did not envision was a top down corporate-style benevolent dictatorship. That's not what community is about.
P.S. Since the existence of the the current Main Street Program (July 2004) there has been a reduction in retail businesses and an increase in offices (including the upcoming bank project) on the first floor all of which is antithetical to the program's goals.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Things That Make You Go Hmmm
If there has been any piece of information reported by myself please don't hesitate to correct it. I want to get it right. I have been researching the public records and observing council meetings and other various public information. If you don't like my observations or questions, so be it. That's what is so cool about being an American, right?
Let's keep our eye on the ball. Our elected officials (all of them) are public servants. Their duty, the job they all actively sought, is to serve all of the people the best way they can and to have accountability. It is my opinion that this city council is not doing that. It is my opinion that there is not a very good system of checks and balances or separation of powers. There seems to be more than a little hypocrisy operating here. Obviously you don't have to agree with that assessment.
Feel free to start your own blog at www.blogger.com
I also encourage everyone to attend the council meetings - if there is going to be change, you have to start somewhere. Even if you believe everything is peachy - go to a meeting.
I did not start this blog a joke or for fun. I think it is very serious. There have been a lot of actions by this council that are not being questioned and questions that are not being answered. I would like more folks in our community to really pay attention to what is going on.
This is a great community and there are great people working for the City of Monroe and I think we have all been ill-served by this council and mayor. But hey, that's just me.
How's that for pompous and bombastic, Anonymous?
Saturday, March 12, 2005
God Don't Like Ugly
Ms. Manns, remember, had attorney Bill Braunlich speak for her at the last council meeting when her actions were questioned. The suave attorney tried to "razzle dazzle" the council and audience with "gray areas" and "interpretations" and "three days" when it admittedly did not apply at all.
And guess what? Back on September 20, 2004 the council had their own "special" meeting and discussed, get this, an ethics ordinance/policy.
It there ever was an administration and council that needed one in place, this is the one.
So I wonder in their draft of this ethics policy it addresses the following:
Is it OK for a council member to squire around town one job candidate and not any of the others when that council person is on the interview committee?
Is it OK for a mayor or councilperson to be a voting member of a board or committee only to be able to vote again when it comes before council?
Is it OK for a city employee to take his/her kids to school in a city-owned vehicle, obviously not city business?
Councilperson Wetzel has, throughout the last 14 months, been concerned with the separation of powers. She addressed that again at the last council meeting regarding Ms. Manns remaining as a signatory on the City's checkbook. Now that a new finance director is in place it is not necessary for her to be on it, yet there she is.
The mayor with his unwavering support (Compora, Edwards, Sabo, Guyor) and through him the city manager are wielding, consolidating and many times abusing their power. It is a sad situation.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Just a Tidbit
The gathering is called "The Road Less Traveled - Carving Out Your Own Path! One of the breakout sessions is "Carving Out a Non-Traditional Path" by Ms. Manns from10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Its a $10.00 charge and goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 242-2310 for other info.
Should be interesting.
Council Saga Continued: Where's Sabo (sorry Waldo)?
(Councilman Sabo has already missed about 30% of 2004's council meetings, 3 out of 13 2004 work sessions and was late to another 6 and he has been MIA for a couple already this year.)
His letter, unfortunately, was full of inaccuracies regarding that program and again illustrated his misunderstanding and/or misrepresenatation of that program. It is very odd that he doesn't seem to understand it since he was a city planner while this program was in effect and one of his specific responsiblilties was to have an understanding with downtown programs and issues and also act as a liaison. So is he purposefully misrepresenting the program publicly?
You know, Mr. Sabo campaigned last time around that he represents "all of the city, not just downtown" (which actually IS in his precinct oddly enough). Perhaps if he chooses to run this time around he could instead say that he represents "all of the city, EXCEPT downtown." Now that would be truth in advertising.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Interesting Soccer Sidebar
Anyway they discussed three things 1) the soccer building request; 2) a noise ordinance and 3) (hold on to your hats!) an ethics ordinance (that will get its very own entry in a little bit).
OK, back to soccer. MASA (Monroe Area Soccer Association) would like the City to invest in a 2,000 square foot building/concession stand to service all of the soccer fields at Munson Park at a cost of about $200,000. City manager Manns "explained that the soccer program is run by the Monroe Area Soccer Association and the City maintains the fields." I'm not real clear what it is exactly that the city does maintenance-wise since MASA Board Members came before council again on March 7, 2005 and said that they are the ones who line all of the fields and also provided/donated thousands of dollars worth of hose to water the the fields.
Anyway, she went on to say in that past meeting, "They are now asking us to construct over a 2,000 square foot building at a construction cost of $208, 000, with the City to finance the building and the Soccer Association to run the concession and keep all profits." Hmmm. Since the MASA Board Members at the March meeting recounted many of their fundraising efforts to reinvest in the program I hardly think they are going to take all the concession "profits" and leave town, but anyway.
"She asked council if the want to continue to allow the Monroe Area Soccer Association to run the program based in large part on the fact that the City is accepting all of the expenses and receiving none of the revenue from the program." Hmmm again. It seems that this volunteer group is doing all of the work and should have a reasonable expectation of receiving the revenue necessary to continue the program that they do continually reinvest in. What also doesn't seem to be mentioned in the official record is that there is some grant money available for this project but the door slams shut on that in July of this year.
OK, this a great recreation program run by volunteers in this community. It is another one of those wonderful quality of life issues the mayor likes to drag out when it suits him so what's the deal? Should this project be funded? Sure. Should it stay in budget? Absolutely. But Ms. Manns recommended the rejection of bids for the project both in September 2004 and again on March 7th and time is running out on the acceptance of the grant money. And now she is asking for a redesign of the project again (she said that in September too) So what really is the problem?
Ms. Manns has been portrayed as a financial wizard (golly, she amazed everyone when she quickly found the money to pay for the mayor's unnecessary leaf pickup project) so perhaps she can cancel renovations to another City Hall bathroom or you know, there is that extra half a million the mayor was all set to spend on (dare I say it?) the roundabout.
Soccer has become very big in this whole community for all ages and genders and it seems a shame that another group of volunteers in this community is getting squeezed by this administration.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The Emperor Strikes Back!
It was not long coming.
From his undisclosed site (was he vacationing with Dick Cheney?), Mayor "I" (king of Monroe) decreed that if the DDA/Main Street and the DMBN do not want to play by his rules, well, a pox on both of their houses - he will have the City staff run the Validation Program!
Time now for another civics lesson, citizens, with a little bit of legality sprinkled in for flavor. Our City government, like the state and federal governments, has as its most basic charge the responsibility of protecting the people. Often citizens think of this only as police, fire, and code enforcement, but in truth all aspects of the City's activities are underwritten by this charge. Mayor "I" said so in defending the Living Wage Ordinance. And this charge also includes the responsibility to ensure that all citizens are fairly and equally protected by public laws, regulations and decisions.
So if the City decides to take an action, everyone must have equal benefit or access. This is what DMBN and some fellow weblog writers have been referring to in describing the "equal protection" issue.
Former City officials said that was THE reason that the operation of the Validation Program was placed outside of the City. And their thinking makes sense: If Customer A and Downtown Employee B are both ticketed by the City for parking more than one hour, and if the City has a program to waive-off tickets for folks like Customer A, then Downtown Employee B should expect the same right, because the City must protect ALL persons. The City does have the right to waive tickets, and does so here and there in court cases.
But to announce an open program for a certain group of people, while excluding Downtown Employee B may cause that person to make a claim of "unequal protection". This, folks, is when action would move from City Hall to the federal courthouse - hello lawsuits. By the City taking tickets via contract from another organization - DMBN - they are not in the direct business of both writing and waiving. And thus no equal protection problem.
The idea of DDA/Main Street administering the program moves it into a "gray area" (certain City officials really like that term) and open the process to possible legal challenge. Now with the mayor's decree, the program will be definitely be challenged because the City is in the direct business of doing both writing and waiving. And even if the City were to prevail in federal court, how long would it take to win and will the Validation Program be in limbo? As long as the handicapped parking case? That kind of delay, too, will kill the program.
One thing is for sure. Once AGAIN, Mayor "I" has acted first and plans to think about it later after he has gained control. By that time, the City will be spending $$$ on lawsuits and downtown will have lost one of its most beneficial programs.
P.S. to Councilman Sabo, Ric Floraday and others who believe that the DMBN (1) thinks the downtown spaces are their own, and (2) does not want to participate in Main Street - PLEASE stop your misrepresentations of the program or the organization! The parking spaces belong to the PUBLIC, but without a parking contract your customers/clients will never be able to use them because you and your employees will park in them all day. AND there would not be a Main Street Program in this town if it were not for DMBN members starting research and planning SIX YEARS AGO!
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Council Meeting 2/7/2005
Michigan's Open Meeting Act, Public Act No. 267 of 1976 as amended
Special & Irregular Meetings:
For special & irregular meetings, public bodies must post a notice indicating the date, time, and place at least 18 hours before the meetings.
NOTE: A regular meeting of a public body, which is recessed for more than 36
hours can only be reconvened if a notice is posted 18 hours in advance.
Penalties Under the Act:
The first time a public official intentionally breaks the law, he or she can be punished
by a maximum fine of $1,000. For a second offense within the same term of office, he
or she can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for a maximum of one year or both. A public
official who intentionally violates the act is also personally liable for actual and
exemplary damages up to $500, plus court costs and attorney fees.
OK, got it so far?
Well, last night City Manager Manns was asked to explain her actions regarding the removal of a public notice in City Hall for a special meeting of the DDA. When asked she deferred to attorney Bill Braunlich. Among all the spin and lawyerspeak about "gray areas" and "interpretation" Mr. Braunlich finally did agree that 1) the public notice did have all the elements necessary for a public notice; 2) since it was a "special meeting" it complied with the 18 hours required even in the strictest interpretation of 18 business hours. City attorney Laitur pointed out that it was in time for 20.5 hours actually. Obviously Mr. Braunlich isn't going to implicate his own client but his agreement on those two points was telling.
So Ms. Manns contention that she wanted to "err" on the side of the administration (how 'bout "erring" on the side of the citizens?) and yank the notice because it wasn't posted for "three days" is shaky at best. Mr. William Godfroy, a local attorney in the audience, said he was "appalled" at the actions of this administrator and her interference in the posting of public notice.
The sad thing is Ms. Manns didn't have to interfere with the posting. If she felt that strongly about it she could have let the meeting happen and then challenged the legality of it. Instead she chose to commit a violation.
There is a pervasive double standard in this administration. These folks play by the rules only when it suits them. Reminds me of when former mayor Cappuccilli asked for a recount of the mayoral votes and Mayor Iacoangeli said he didn't want to be "nitpicky" but the request was not done correctly according to the law.
Well, gee, I don't want to be "nitpicky" but according to the law I think Ms. Manns violated the Open Meetings Act and it should be investigated.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Who do these people think they are in trying to thwart this meeting? Who else is now complicit in this illegal act? Mr. Tallerico is Ms. Black's direct superior - is he in on it too? Or did Ms. Manns call Ms. Black directly? What is going on over there?
One DDA member wonders if the meeting should be postponed if the mayor can not attend. Well, the simple answer to that is NO. First, he is only one person/vote on that committee. Second, and most of all, the mayor had ample opportunity to discuss this issue with lots of impacted people well before he asked council to take action. Give the mayor the same courtesy and respect he has shown everyone else - which was absolutely none.
Up for Another "Entertaining" Hour?
So tonight I wonder what brand of democracy will we see. We have already documented the city manager's efforts to stop a meeting, possibly at the direction of the mayor. What kind of democracy is that? Will Ms. Manns be held accountable? If the mayor directed her to break the law will he be held accountable?
Most people in the City will just shrug their shoulders and say "it doesn't affect me, big deal." So I would like to remind folks of these words by Rev. Martin Niemuller during WWII: "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't Communist. Then they came for the Jews, but I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
So, though a little dramatic, the point is if Ms. Manns and the mayor are allowed to continue their abuses of power and are not held accountable now then your time may be coming too. If they don't have a problem trying to censure the DDA, they sure won't have a problem with you.
It will be interesting to listen and watch how this council handles Ms. Manns illegal act and abuse of power. Ms. Manns' actions crossed the line. She can not plead ignorance (that would be telling in itself) since she twice told a DDA representative that she understood the law. Did she willfully lie to him?
So, will the citizens of Monroe be truly represented justly and fairly or will we see a council who condones or supports that illegal behavior?
Tune in tonight.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
City "Manager" Strikes Again
City Manager Manns, whose qualifications for that post continue to be questionable given her grasp of the basic issue of the Open Meetings Act and over other issues, contends that she has the authority to remove public notices. She is simply wrong.
As reported "according to the state's penal code, "all official books, papers, or records" created by or received by a government office are public records. It says that "any person who shall willfully carry away, mutilate or destroy any such books, papers, records.....shall be guilty of a misdemeanor," which is punishable by up to two years in jail or a fine up to $1,000."
Ms. Manns, possibly at the direction of the mayor, "willfully carried away" the public notice of a special DDA meeting. Ms. Manns has violated state law. It is worth considering that a complaint be filed with the police department regarding her open violation of state law.
There is nothing "illegal" and there is no "gray area" regarding scheduling and having this meeting. The DDA followed their own by-laws and the state law and actually went above and beyond the required time necessary to post a special meeting notice.
Why is the mayor and she trying so hard to stop this meeting?
This special meeting is only in response to the mayor and council's action of summarily terminating the parking ticket validation program with the DMBN and dumping it the lap of the DDA/Main Street without even communicating to them either what is expected or having an alternative plan in place. So what is the mayor's problem?
Mayor "I" didn't have a problem last January 12, 2004 when he scheduled a "special" council meeting right after taking office and and the changed time was "inadvertently" left off the agenda notice. At least the DDA got it right and legal.
City Manager Manns takes her direction from the mayor. The mayor campaigned on a more "open" administration. What a crock.
Friday, March 04, 2005
A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen
The DDA/Main Street Board were all quite surprised over the mayor's idea. He didn't not communicate with them either.
Members of the DDA Board, following their by-laws, have requested a special meeting be convened and following the DDA rules as well as the State of Michigan Open Meetings Act have requested that the meeting notice be posted Thursday afternoon, March 3, 2005) in City Hall as well as the Main Street office where they meet. The state law requires 18 hours notice. Since the meeting is scheduled for Monday night, March 7, 2005, the DDA Board has complied with the state law.
However, here's where it gets interesting.
City Manager Manns called DDA Board member Gabe Martin and told him that the meeting announcement could NOT be posted since it was not posted three days before the meeting. So it continues to beg the following questions, where did she come up with "three days", isn't Thursday afternoon to Monday night "three days", and since STATE LAW only requires 18 hours what in the heck is she talking about? Also why is the City Manager sticking her nose in this issue to begin with? Rumor is, the mayor told her to stop the meeting. Why does the mayor not want the DDA to meet to talk about the program he just summarily dropped in their lap?
Right now, the DDA wishes to meet and has followed all of the rules required. If City Manager Manns continues to try to stop the DDA Board from meeting by refusing to post the meeting date and time she is in violation of state law (Michigan Open Meetings Act).
When is this stuff going to stop?