City Commission’s Fiduciary Responsibility Fits a Pattern

It has become common culture among national, state and local governments, executives, legislators and, generally, all politicians of providing misinformation to the public on a wide gamut of community problems.

Much has been written about this in relationship to the Iraq war in which the political and military authorities give false information to protect themselves from public rebuke and to protect the highest government authorities from prosecution for carrying out certain illegal acts.

One may read THE LIMITS OF POWER: the End of American Exceptionalism, by Andrew J. Bacevich ( Henry Holt and Co, 2008) in which the author recounts the national political culture of overstating the power and the competency of the U.S. government and military to police the world and impose its own world view on other countries.

In “Real Men Tax Gas” (column by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, September 20, 2009) the writer shows the inherent inability of national politicians to take a rather simple step of imposing a national gas tax of $1 that would produce billions of dollars that can be used to pay off our federal deficit, finance health care and ameliorate the impact of the same tax on the poor.

How does this apply to Coral Gables where the size and complexity of the administrative decisions are trivial compared to wars, economic recovery programs, energy programs and the national budget?

They apply to a similar culture of denying problems until they strike you in the face (e.g., budget shortfalls in late 2008 and early 2009), until the crisis is upon the city (with huge pension liabilities) and the processes that got the city into the mess, especially accommodating to short-term demands of labor unions, real estate and local development interests. The city commission as a whole ignored their financial fiduciary responsibility by letting a city manager and a city budget go completely out of control.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

One Response to City Commission’s Fiduciary Responsibility Fits a Pattern

  1. lois says:

    sm you wrote a beautiful article. i hope you are coming to the pac meeting monday. i think hoping we can convince the cities leadership to take this step is futile. as with the others they don’t have the will. we need to impose that will. in my opinion the only answer is to mobilize the citizens, asking pretty please for city hall and the city manager to face reality, in my mind is wasted effort. that became apparent to me after all those terrifice presentations by citizens at the budget hearings pointing out that the current path is not sustainable. it made no difference our choice is more of the same or having the citizens tell them no more.

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