Don#8217;t spend money you can#8217;t find

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Like a New York City shell game, where the player must find the pea in order to remain solvent, council is attempting to find the nut casing that holds some unaccounted for taxpayers’ dollars.

Following a recent financial analysis, which council asked for, it was discovered that some departments are out of, or nearly out of money, and apparently there are some dollars that might have simply disappeared.

But trouble with the city’s checkbook hasn’t deterred one council member.


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Wednesday night, at the end of the regular council meeting, a time when the members usually have a few minutes to talk about anything on their mind, Cypress Borough Representative Charles Brown brought up the idea of a board retreat.

The seven members had wanted to do this earlier in the year, but the results of the analysis caught them a bit off guard, and they postponed it. It was planned for a local venue.

Now, amidst the potential money crisis, Brown is advocating a n to borrow and bastardize an old naval term n “damn-the-finances, full-speed-ahead” attitude with this plan.

Brown said he wants the group to get together and “learn more about each other,” but he suggested they do it out of town.

Our question, obviously, is why?

Suffolk is a great place to live and do business n just ask any council member. And we have a number of wonderful facilities where this gathering could take place and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Let’s start with the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center n with conference center being the operative words.

The hotel has several very large rooms that would easily accommodate the seven-member board and all of their entourage. They are even large enough for setting up video and audio equipment so the event could be recorded.

And with the city’s vested interest in the hotel, the manager might give them a great deal on the meeting rooms.

If council gets hungry, there is a restaurant inside the hotel and a host of others within a mile’s driving distance.

And the really nice thing about the hotel, or any other local venue, is that after each day’s meeting, the individual members could return to their home boroughs and hold town-hall gatherings with their constituents, bringing them up to date on the day’s happenings.

The other place we would recommend that council consider is their own chambers at city hall.

There is already very sophisticated audio and video equipment in place and all of the computer systems they would need for PowerPoint slides or others displays.

And it would not cost the taxpayers a thing.

Right now is not the time for council to even consider spending money on an out-of-town junket.

That’s our money they are using, and as of this writing, we can’t remember anybody giving them permission to spend it so frivolously.

We certainly hope that the other six members of council see that Brown’s idea is a bad one and give it nothing more than a passing glance.