City Council & Outside Help

There is plenty of controversy surrounding City Council’s decision to spend money for an outside financial consultant. Setting aside for the moment the fact that Council is willing to pay more than the budgeted amount–an issue in itself–the question is what exactly this action says about staff performance. Some say the move is a vote of no confidence, while others say the problems are such that an outside perspective is needed.

Many of us work in fields where, occasionally, decisions must be made to request outside help for dealing with problems that require a level of expertise not found in-house. It is a mark of professionalism to do so. So the question is: Is it reasonable to expect the in-house staff to anticipate and to generate solutions to our budget problems themselves? I say it is. If you disagree, you must explain to me a) what their main function is, and b) how neighboring communities avoided deficits.

As for going over budget to obtain help, iirc my first city-related letter to the editor (LTE) was a complaint about a mayor spending more on travel than was allotted. No mercy.