Reader applauds City Council

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 17, 2006

I believe a response is appropriate and necessary to the Robert Pocklington column published Nov. 9 in the News-Herald.

He suggests that Suffolk’s financial director should have been allowed into the closed door City Council meeting to explain and elaborate on any of the findings from the city’s financial-status report.

He also states that the former city manager warned Council that it was going too far with tax cuts.

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I believe this is the sort of cavalier attitude that got the city manager fired in the first place, and rightly so.

One of the issues in the report had to do with the city not keeping to its plan to replace money spent from the Rainy Day Fund. If the administration was withdrawing funds from any city account without the appropriate plan to replace those funds, then we have an administration not responsible to anyone.

The next line of financial responsibility, after the city manager, is the financial director. It seems to me that a financial director should be congnizant of the various sources of city tax dollars and the fiduciary responsibilities involved in spending those funds. So, if the Rainy Day Fund ends up being short, then it seems like the financial manager should know about it.

Carrying the same logic forward, it seems that since the financial manager is a city employee, and works directly for the taxpayers through the city council, then the financial manager should have been sending reports to Council, alerting them to the fact that tax revenue was being spent at a faster rate that it was being replaced.

So, it seems to me that the meeting that took place without the financial manager was entirely appropriate. The financial manager can answer any questions that Council might have at some other meeting, but I think Council made the right decision in hearing the report behind closed doors. I would expect that the conversation surrounding the report involved naming several city employees and the way the city has been spending my tax dollars.

I think the seven flipping coins did a good job, and I applaud them on this one.

Robert Donnelly