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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Assembly doing their duty despite the fa la la time of year...

Months ago a couple of assembly members were bemoaning their responsibility of serving as armed guards for the borough piggy bank and the necessity of voting to authorize a change order that called for some taxpayer money to be spent to complete a project. It was decided that an assembly work session to examine what they thought was a problem in need of a solution needed to occur post haste.  So, like the knights on white horses they envision themselves to be, they assembled on Tuesday. Procurements, the acquisition of goods and services was the special meeting subject matter this time.

Hardly an assembly meeting has gone by the last couple years without the usual suspects at the assembly table repeating ad nauseum, like some member of a cult, the need for the “Borough to be open business”.  Part of the attempt to swing open the Borough doors that they were convinced and busy trying to convince others someone had padlocked shut, was to go through the procurement code and make “changes” for a more business friendly environment.  What the rules of the road are when government spends money turns out to be pretty interesting and in some cases complicated. The assembly was told that along with following Borough code, projects funded with state and federal monies have their own host of requirements to fill in the blanks. After four hours of questions were asked and answered and although they assured themselves a great discussion had been begun with a suggested future work session, it turns out there isn’t that much to pick apart.  But since that is the job of the citizen lobbyist job, we will help you understand what’s happening.

Assembly member Arvin (who was actually there in person and not on teleconference which means that the cardboard Arvin will have to go back in the closet until he returns to Taipei) was concerned that the Borough wasn’t following code.  The Borough, by all appearances and explanation is following code.  Yes there is the ability to do more with either additional code or in some cases more forceful management.   Surely the assembly will find this just peachy until a concerned (wink wink) citizen happens to call and give them a earful.  A couple of members were distressed that fewer bids from proposals aren’t being awarded in the Borough.  Hope they didn’t lose any sleep over that.  Documents presented show a steady increase over the years in awards issued.  Assembly member Halter was concerned that there are increased costs to RSA’s in administration and cost of road design in proportion to total cost which still needs to be examined and might have some merit.  Assembly member Woods just doesn’t see where the effects of school design has any impact on educational outcomes.  Yeah he will need some schooling himself on that one. 

For the record, the Borough ceremonial Mayor did his ceremonial job and called the meeting to order then promptly handed the gavel over to Deputy Mayor Arvin and made an exit.  Mr. Arvin then chaired the meeting with 5 other assembly members that lasted until 7:30 PM.  This didn’t go unnoticed by Assembly member Keogh who had watched a scheduled joint meeting with the school board that was to take place on this same night at 6pm cancelled by the ceremonial Mayor for an anticipated lack of a quorum.  Hmmm…apparently Mr. Mayor has a crystal ball.  It’s still unclear why this joint meeting ended up with a bull’s eye on it for cancellation. Was it the fact that economist Neil Fried was scheduled to address the joint bodies about the state of the borough economy being positive paired up with the news that the procurements in the borough are on the upswing?  Well that doesn’t jive with the endless drum beat of the Mayor and some Assembly members saying the Borough is not business friendly and needs to be “open for business.”  Maybe the ceremonial Mayor was just antsy with nothing to throw a veto at. Somehow like a good New Year’s Eve party, chances are we are gonna be hearing about who was doing what in the closet with a party hat on before we get to the bottom of this.

With a whole slate of Borough projects coming up rapidly after voters gave their nod to both a mega school bond and possible execution of road bonds a “well baby check” of how business is done isn’t an all together bad thing. It would be better for the valley if it weren’t framed in the same old tired argument and the recheck and the final outcomes of the inquiry produced some rules of the road that protected the taxpayer and the business community.  Some members need to be reminded that they have been presented evidence time and time again that no matter what some valley business organization that has joined them in coining a phrase about the borough not being open for business, the facts speak otherwise. Even when you knock them off the schedule to speak.

But then you know what they say “he who pays the piper buys the tune”.   

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