Friday, September 24, 2010

Well, Why Didn't You Think of That Before?

How many times did I think to my self, "You should have thought of that before you did it!" during Thursday afternoon's City Council business meeting. It didn't even take the MAST pension fiasco to get me thinking it. It just took a report from the Water Department.

If you are a customer of KCMO's Water Dept., you know that the billing just changed over from bimonthly to monthly. Well, in this meeting, the water people admitted out loud that they did not realize that the cost to do billing would double as now there were twice as many mailings, twice as many bill prints (they pay someone per bill to print them), and twice as many bank transactions. I am just like, OMG, if you bill more frequently, and the billing cost comes per item to you, then, hey wow, it will actually cost more to bill more frequently. Ya shouda thought of that before ya did it!

Something tells me the gang at the Water Department are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, as there was actually a few words of debate about the merits of replacing meters at houses that have been empty or abandoned for a long time. The Water Department wants to be changing out these meters; in one of the most sane moments I have ever seen, councilwoman Brooks commented that it would just be better to do it on demand.

Well then, it was on to the MAST pension issue. This is such a mess, because it is clear that for former MAST folks who opt to move to the city pension plan, they are to be taken care of with their anniversary date being their date of hire by MAST, not the date of merger. Much was made of the people--the council said 17 but other sources dispute that--who will be ready to take retirement in 18 months.
The debate points hadn't changed much in two weeks, but it was obvious that outside influences had come to bear over that time. It was clear from the outset of discussion that the vote in City Council meeting was going to be postponed and the issue would go back to committee.
Again I kept thinking, and wrote down in my notes, you should have studied it before the take over. Now they want time to study it, after it's a done deal, and try and put lipstick on a pig. Ya shoulda thought of that before ya did it!

The debate caused a small amount of sniping on the council, with Funk fretting to Riley and Ford that they were listening to false and misleading information. Riley challenged Funk to list the "false and misleading" stuff but the Funk dodged the question. Deb Hermann reminded everyone to quit "pulling on each other's hair."

After this, the council meeting was an anticlimax, as the MAST pension went back to committee as did Ford's proposal for a 45 day study and public comment period before changes to pension funding.

Photos by the Observer of the council and the audience for the MAST issue. The redheaded guy, the white guy with the 'stash and the black guy in that last photo are KCFD, with the redhead the union rep for the battalion chiefs and the black guy (the infamous Sherwood!) the rep for Local 42. Click on photos to embiggen.


Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, the elected officials are responsible for the services provided to residents. The buck has to stop somewhere in any organization, and it's not possible to delegate responsibility, only authority.
Even the most brief and superficial discussions with most of the counilmembers about actual results in alomost any area of city operations quickly show that they don't have a clue! No performance standards, no supervision, no management-by-walking-around, and no follow-up.
They're way too busy playing at make-believe developer and schmoozing one special insider group or another.
The good new is, elections are coming. Time for the voters to pay attention!

Anonymous said...

Very good writing, Observer. Great pic.

The Observer said...

Anon 6:47 am:
Yes, this business meeting rather proved the lack of operational chops in the Council. I think part of it is that people with that skill set don't go into politics and are seldom found in government jobs except maybe at the field/service level. People "on the street" are expected to solve the problems created by the incompetent top heavy administration!


Anon 10:30 PM--Why thank you!

The Observer

Groucho K. Marx said...

Darned good stuff Observer!

Note too that one of the pension 'objectors' was the Greater K.C. Chamber of Horr- er- Commerce- which probably consists of an unknown- but likely sizable- number of members who aren't even KC-MO residents!

If Johnson Countians want to dictate KC-MO affairs- let THEM help pay for the annual corporate sports playpen upkeep ($2-mil)- zoo- etc. and make them quit stealing KC-MO's businesses!

Anonymous said...

Yes, and after the comical Governors' Summit meeting in January, the Chamber identified its three most pressing prioirities for 2010:
Crime; jobs; economic development.
Anyone heard anything at all about any of the three since?
It's sad when an institution that could weigh in on serious issues and make such a difference is so out of touch and utterly out of the game.

The Observer said...

Groucho and Anon 1215:
The KC Chamber did issue a statement that it was not in favor of the merge/takeover of MAST but they did not make any offers of assistance to the small group of people working in opposition to the idea.

No manpower, no money, no technical or facility support, no nuttin'

A very missed opportunity, since a relatively small number of signatures would have put the issue to a vote of the people.

Now we are trying to put that lipstick on that pig!

The Observer