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City staff aren't prepared

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am

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I have been watching budget deliberations on council and the questions that have been put forth to city administration by council. It is hard as a resident and taxpayer to watch and listen to the questions and answers. I have to give credit to the mayor and council members who are trying to sift through the information and come prepared to these meetings. The administration has prepared very poorly for these meetings when they cannot answer council membersí questions about budgeting questions surrounding finances, programs. You would think that when preparing the agenda for council, the administration would be well versed on the information they put forth. Unfortunately they cannot answer questions in many instances.

We are being told that our city departments need to compete with the private sector for good people and pay administration that way, but many of these people would not qualify to work in the private sector. In fact, many of them would find themselves unemployed going into budget meetings for private companies with the answers they are giving to council. It is disturbing to find that many of these people havenít a clue how to answer the questions and are ill prepared for the meetings. In many cases, departments are using the excuse that they need to hire more individuals to handle the work load. Yet as we watch administration performance during our budgeting process, we notice that many of them do not understand how to answer the questions.

If we want our city to be efficient, we might ask the city administration to start setting an example and be prepared for the questions they are asked. Maybe we might start thinking about hiring individuals who are qualified to answer financial questions and weed out those who havenít a clue. What is the purpose of having open houses and budget deliberations when the people presenting the budget havenít a clue what they are asking for or what they are talking about? Either they really arenít prepared, or they donít want to answer the questions as we might not like the real answers.

Ted Durham, St. Albert


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