Sunday, February 12, 2006
How Did We Get Here (Or How Soon We Forget) Part One
Well, here's part one of a multiple series.
John Iacoangeli set the tone of his tenure when just after the election in 2003 he was quoted in the Monroe Evening News that he would meet with Councilpersons Sabo, Guyor and Compora to set the direction of the next two years. (Please note the absence of Councilpersons Burkett, Edwards, and Wetzel in his plans. Is it just me or does that sound like a clique? Was there an open meeting violation, jeepers?) The whole culture of "I" had begun - where the ends always justifies the means.
Oddly enough, after that statement there was no "public outrage" - no comments from the Monroe Evening News writing their dismay with the new council right off the bat.
City Manager Bob Hamilton resigned (hey, he was an "at will" employee - he saw the writing on wall) and retired. He was the first of at least six department head departures within the first year - some voluntarily and some not.
January 5, 2004
New Mayor and Council were sworn in.
Votes on 3 issues, 7-0; 1 issue 6-0 with 1 abstention
SPECIAL Council Meeting
A special council meeting was held at 6 p.m. which was not the normal meeting time.
The mayor proposed a six-month contract for legal services of Braunlich, Russow & Braunlich. (Bill Braunlich is a good friend and colleague of the mayor's.) Councilperson Wetzel pointed out that the contract was temporary while a RFP is prepared to bid out the legal services for the city and would expire June 30, 2004. (Please note that at the June 21, 2004 Council Meeting the mayor proposed that the services of that law firm continue WITHOUT bidding out the services. His rationale was that they were already there and he didn't want to waste time changing.) Oddly enough there was no "public outrage" at the lack of a bid or awarding the contract to a pal. Again, no comment on the appropriateness and questionable ethics of that action from the Monroe Evening News.
The vote was 5-2; Burkett/Wetzel - nays.
In regards to a request for the negotiation of a personal services contract with the Finance Director "Mayor Iacoangeli responded to Council concerns stating that there are three positions that have a direct relationship with the Mayor and Council; the City Manager, the Director of Finance and the Assistant City Attorney. He explained that the city always had a contract with the City Manager. He considers the Director of Finance as the Chief Finance officer for the city, and these positions along with the legal position form the the framework for how the government operates. He stated that he thinks it is in the best interests of the city to have a contract with all of these individuals to outline their responsibilities, compensation and provisions for termination." Then Tom Russow, Attorney, explained "that it is recommended practice from various organizations that all "at-will" employees have a written contract in which they specifically acknowledge that they are an employee "at-will" which sets out the terms of what happens if the contract is not renewed or if there is a termination of the contract before it expires." (So a quick flash-forward - Ms. Manns knew what she was signing as a "professional" - its part of the job.)
Votes on 6 issues, 7-0
City Council Minutes 1/12/2004
Please note that a few months later the Mayor and Council terminated the "at will" contract of the Finance Director shortly before they received a "wonderful" audit and the news that they had inherited a city in great financial shape. There was no public explanation of his termination. There was no "public outrage" at the council exercising their right to terminate an "at-will" employee.
January 12, 2004
A Council Workshop was held at 7:15 p.m. on Parliamentary Procedure.
(Based on watching the future proceedings it doesn't appear that the lessons took.)
January 20, 2004
City Council Meeting
The mayor announced that he added a last-minute "Request to Retain an Interim City Manager" under Council Action that was not on the agenda.
There was also an "Appointments Resolution" from the Mayor's Office with no written documentation - either on the website or with the public agendas.
"The communication from the Mayor's Office, submitting a memo regarding the appointment of an interim City Manager, and recommending that Ms. Debbie Manns (who was sitting in the audience undoubtedly anticipating getting the very well-paid gig that evening) be retained in the position of interim City Manager until such a time that the City conclude a formal search process for a permanent City Manager. ...he stated that the memo asks to appoint Ms. Manns, who he has known professionally for about 12 years and feels is a very good administrator, excellent organizer and communicator and would serve well at this time." (Please note the familiarity of that suggestion - sounds a lot like the rationale for hiring another friend, Braunlich's law firm, "temporarily" then awarding the permanent gig later under the radar.)
Tim Laitur, Assistant City Attorney, explained that the Charter provisions trump the Codified Ordinance and that two-thirds vote of council is required. The motion was defeated 4-3 with Councilpersons Burkett, Wetzel and Edwards voting no. It was then moved to begin the search for a city manager.
Votes on 14 issues, 7-0; 1 issue 4-3
City Council Minutes, 1/20/2004
The Monroe Evening News reported on the meeting in the January 21st issue. In an article by Charles Slat, it said Mayor Iacoangeli proposed she (Manns) serve at least six months and be paid a rate reflecting an annual salary of $90,000. Councilperson Edwards was the first to oppose the mayor's proposal, suggesting the appointment didn't meet the protocol for naming a temporary manager as spelled out in the codes. She also questioned Ms. Mann's experience and qualifications, especially in terms of labor negotiations, and was bothered by the pay rate. "I find that very appalling, there's no way I can go along with that."
(Of course, a few weeks later she did go along with that. Since Ms. Manns qualifications did not change or improve what changed Ms. Edwards' mind? Was she promised something in exchange for her vote?)
Mayor Iacoangeli said "what I want council to understand - what I want the community to understand - is that using the Finance Director as acting city manager is a caretaker position only and I have more and bigger ideas for this community than to wait for six to nine months before we get a city manager." (I get the feeling that he meant he didn't like the idea of being slowed down by these silly rules and he did not appreciate having to wait to install a "yes" person to help him achieve his agenda because he was in a hurry.)
Councilperson Wetzel said she had never been asked about her expectations for a city manager or interim city manager and she felt the proposal to hire Ms. Manns "has not been an inclusive process." She has said she only received a resume and never had a conversation with anyone. "I'm to take your word she's qualified?", she asked the mayor. Mayor Iacoangeli said he informed everyone of his intentions, (does that mean that Wetzel, Burkett, and Edwards would have found out his intention perhaps a day or two before the meeting while his "clique" of Sabo, Guyor and Compora already knew - they sure didn't seem surprised - gee, was there an open meetings violation?) furnished a resume and entertained questions about the appointment from council members. "I have an open door," he said, "I think it is incumbent upon council members that if they want inclusion, we have to seek inclusion." (What an interesting comment.)
(Just a side note: at the February 6, 2006 Council Meeting Councilperson Compora criticized Mayor Cappuccilli for her perceived notion that she was purposely not included in council appointments. She publicly admitted that he had already contacted her on at least two other occasions in spite of their contentious relationship. Oddly enough, did you know that Mayor Cappuccilli's reaching out to Councilperson Compora is already twice as many times in a month than Iacoangeli contacted Councilperson Wetzel in the two years they served together, and wow, she didn't even have hate signs in her yard.
And former mayor Iacoangeli (Ms. Compora's "hero") just noted in the article that he felt it was the responsibility of the councilperson to reach out to the mayor - not the other way around. So it would appear that if she followed Iacoangeli's rationale then she should be the one reaching out to Mayor Cappuccilli. Weird, huh?
Even Councilperson Edwards said in the same exchange that she can certainly speak for herself and if she had a concern or problem she had no problem just simply picking up the phone and talking to the mayor.)
January 27, 2004
City Council Work Session with the Citizen Planning Commission
Also present were various department heads and others asking for funding of projects.
The purpose was to discuss the 2004-2009 capital improvements program budget.
Please note the multiple years, some projects are planned years ahead due to need and monies available.
Department heads each asked for funding of particular projects and then in an unprecedented move the mayor weighed in with his own list of projects that if implemented would require other projects waiting their turn to be bumped or eliminated. The mayor's projects included changes to St. Mary's Parking Lot, a one-lane roundabout at LaPlaisance, Scott and Sixth Sts.,the refurbishment of Kentucky Memorial Park, the refurbishment of the tot lot at fourth & Harrison Sts., construction of a shared pathway between Smith St. and Woodcraft Square, enhancements to the Front Street corridor, acquistion and reconfiguration of the intersectionat third, Union and Front Sts., replacement of trees on S. Monroe St.and a comprehensive signage system. (Sound familiar? Many of his projects were implemented so whose neighborhood got the shaft?)
City Council Minutes 1/27/2004
January 29, 2004
City Council Joint Work Session with the Downtown Development Authority
The purpose of the meeting was to hear a presentation from the Community Development Department on the Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization.
Laura Kreps, Community Planner, (also a certified Main Street planner courtesy of the previous administration and the taxpayers) gave a presentationthat detailed the four-point approach, the eight principles of the Main Street Approach and an organizational structure of a typical Main Street Program. (Please note that a "typical" Main Street Program is NOT controlled by the city - matter of fact the program stresses that there be an office away from the city so as not to foster even a perception that the city is controlling the program.) She explained that the budget for the program would be approximately $100,000 a year and would be funded by the contributions by the DDA, the City and downtown businesses, large and small. The program would be run by a Main Street Manager and would rely on community volunteers.
The mayor asked the DDA to submit a formal letter to Council requesting a three-year commitment from the city to support a Main Street program.
(Please note that during earlier discussions of this program it was understood that all the stakeholders would be partners, sharing their strengths and expertise, not just simply the City calling all the shots with a take it or leave it attitude.
Well, that's the end of Part One with more to come.
There is no way you can be anything but a puppet for Al and his CCC coalition. I see nothing but lies and personal attacks on this site.
You obviously have no idea what being a journalist, or even a respectable citizen is about. If you could see past the limits of Beneteauville (known as downtown to the lay people out there) you might have a shred of credibility. Your attacks are worth nothing since you don't bother to speak out in public for your beliefs.
It must be tough to sit behind a computer screen and talk smack about anyone who worked with a past administration to make the sity a better place to live. You must be as high as a certain councilman likes to be. Hopefully you and your political buddies can get your acts together before everyone with a brain gets out of this city. It is obviously going nowhere but broke fast with this administration.
Can you please let me know what a sity is?
You must watch CNN. Being a journalist is about reporting the facts. If you want to interject your opinion into it, there is always the editorial page. Now, there are always two sides to a complex issue, and you should report both viewpoints. Sometimes the NEWS doesn’t seem to find the other viewpoint. If you want to distort the truth and flat out lie, you can work for the Monroe Evening News, CNN, the New York Times, etc.
I have been to meetings and spoken on topics in public. I have then read in the paper what I said the next day, and it was incorrect. In fact, the quotes in the paper often have me coming out against proposals when all I did was ask a question to clarify a detail, and I didn't express support or dissension on the item.
I would say objectionably that this BLOG is often a better source of news about city government than the NEWS.
I will also say if you want to see people slandered in public, you don't need to read this blog. Just go to the next City Council meeting and watch the Compora show.
I heard about the Skunk here before the NEWS reported it. Hmmmmmm.
Clean up your language if you are intelligent enough to do so. Jerks like you are the ones who can't make a valid argument about anything. You must be related to Compora. Scream and whine like our uneducated CouncilMan Compora. Sore losers are abound in the Iaco camp it appears.
To aconcernedcitized: what is mindless dribble? This blog? YOU have to be kidding! This blog tells it like it is. The owner of this blog is trying to be as honest and ACCURATE as possible. I think that Mayor C. is a good person and wants to do good for the city of Monroe. Am I biased? You bet. Civility and professionalism may not generate as much news as accusations and bad behavior do, and you can bet that Mayor C. won't stoop to that lowest level.
To Larry: How can a new administration have messed up the finances? Do you have details? Mayor C. has been in office for a little over a month and the finances are messed up?!? If they are (I don't claim to have the proof), could it be possible that they WERE THAT WAY from John I? You really sound like a disgruntled John I. collaborator. And you know what -- that's ok. You absolutely have that right. What does bother me is the accusations I read and especially from one council member who doesn't seem to be interested in the real truth or merit of anything related to Mayor C.
You can bet the the
(M)onroe (E)vening (N)ews will be like "M-E-N acting badly" and not report anything close to the truth. They have their head in the sand for a reason -- looking for another worm for their accusations page (oops -- the editorial page).
When you sober up, pull up some Michigan DDA's on the computer, and you may see that many DDA's also deal with PARKING in downtowns across the state. I guess ours is just concerned with making a pretty park and putting taxpayer dollars into a bunch of flowers. These women planting flowers have no clue when it comes to business decisions, probably because they have not ventured out on their own and started their own business downtown. We need bakeries and pool halls etc......
Where will we park all of these people. If anyone actually chooses to drink PBR, then that in itself shows that they have absolutely no taste or common sense. I guess that's why you can't see that, YES, WE DO HAVE A PARKING PROBLEM IN DOWNTOWN MONROE--if you can't see that, then you are either a drunk or a planner.
By the way, why do you refer to Mrs Guyor, Doug Chaffin, Rick Floriday, and Michelle Nisley as hacks and crack pots? Just because they are Iaco fans?