Jim Engelken: New process needed

Advertisement

You have missed the story with regards to the issue of a new police station and a location to put it. The City Council has allowed its staff to run amuck.

When the Today reports that the “city” has determined that Rita Valentine Park is the “preferred site” for a new police station, who are you talking about? The “city” is all of us residents as represented by our elected City Council. The City Council was not consulted prior to a “preferred site” being established. The Today apparently is referring to city staff who, without consultation with council, have taken a political position and, worse yet, are advocating for it. What you need to report is how completely inappropriate this is. Who is setting policy at the city?

The proper process for determining a preferred site should be that council directs staff to investigate potential sites that meet predetermined criteria and then reports back to council with a list of possibilities. Such a search should involve multiple city departments including planning, public works, legal, law enforcement and any other department that might have some expertise. Next, the City Council should hold public meetings to get public input and then, and only then, the City Council, not city staff, should make a determination of a “preferred site.” As it stands today, law enforcement apparently is acting alone at the direction of the city manager — and absent clear direction from City Council.

The process for developing a new police station during the last couple of years has been a combination of comedy and tragedy. It’s like a cat chasing its tail. We’re all holding our breath waiting to see if the cat hurts itself. This spectacle has been an embarrassing waste of time and money. How can we expect good decisions out of City Hall when the City Council is so inept at putting forth a rational process for making those decisions?

Jim Engelken

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Neil O'Keeffe 1 year ago

Could not have said it better Jim! Thanks for sharing your opinion, one that I am convinced a vast majority of the citizens in Steamboat Springs share. We need a new city council for sure and one that has the ability to lead and rein in a city manager and staff that have lost all concept of who they work for.

4

Stuart Orzach 1 year ago

Thanks Jim. Well put! There is something very wrong with the way this City operates. The tragicomedy that is the effort to upgrade our public safety facilities is just one symptom.

2

cindy constantine 1 year ago

I liken it to "short-timers syndrome" when someone has given their notice to leave a job---they do not do the hard work needed to be effective. I know this is beating a dead horse, but why are we not pursuing a strong mayoral form of government? Could the staff at the paper PLEASE do an informed and researched piece on how that form of government might be what this community needs and how it differs from what we have now?

2

Scott Wedel 1 year ago

Mayoral system is generally not a good idea for small governments.

A mayoral system basically means the city staff reports to the mayor and does as the mayor wants. The mayor's power is only checked by the elected city commissioners. When the city commissioners are part time and lack dedicated personal staff then it becomes very hard for them to check the power of the mayor.

The problem locally is, as described in the letter above, that city council members have allowed city staff to run amok and present solutions without consultations or public input. City staff reports have been allowed to become public relations brochures instead of independent analysis.

0

cindy constantine 1 year ago

You elect a Mayor based on the priorities of City Business as articulated in "stump" speeches. Their full-time job is to full fill this agenda. Obviously different candidates will have different priorities and we can vote accordingly. But this is the only job. The priorities are not stretched because of other income earning needs. The only job is the business of the City and setting City staff to meeting these goals. Yes, city commissioners can add checks and balances especially as unforeseen "needs" change. But we have now is not working and has not worked for the past several elected City Councils!

0

Scott Wedel 1 year ago

vote based upon stump speeches?

Dream on. Where does that happen? Certainly doesn't happen for our city council races.

A strong mayor system tends to require a government big enough to have full time professional politicians to at least run for mayor. Who here would run for mayor besides Deb Hinsvark?

0

cindy constantine 1 year ago

You would be surprised, Scott at the # of former business leaders and administrators that were able to retire early in Steamboat that are interested in running the City. If you have had experience running a large school district where you dealt with unions for a number of years, this would be a cake walk, for instance. And yes, we ALL vote on the platform we hear from the various candidates if it is aligned with our priorities for the City-----or do you just flip a coin in the voting booth?????

0

rhys jones 1 year ago

I agree with Cindy. A mayoral system would be preferable to the good-ol'-boy (and girl) system currently in place, where everybody points fingers, and nobody is responsible for the inept actions. Key decisions are made in private, public meetings a farce, the outcome predetermined. We need somebody willing to accept responsibility for their deeds.

1

walt jones 1 year ago

Jim perfect options. You have experience with the City and hope you are heard loud and clear. Also your question of " who is setting policy at the city?" is excellent question. I have stated numerous times the catalyst of all the issues including this one stem from Deb Hinsvark.

2

mark hartless 1 year ago

So the same geniuses that elected the "loo-loo's" in the past and have put the current council together are supposed to, all of a sudden, begin to actually vote intelligently for a Mayor?

That's absurd.

The electorate put the current group in power.

If a company has inept employees it's because the boss did an inept job of hiring them. Having the same boss (the same dunces that make up the electorate) hire new leadership will produce more of the same results.

I think this is a classic example of a widespread phenomena across the entire country where people want to blame politicians and ignore the fools (electorate) that put the politicians in power.

Make it harder for dunces and those with no skin in the game to vote and you will get better leadership. And that's the OPPOSITE of what most of the country is doing.

1

cindy constantine 1 year ago

And your solution is . . . . . . . . . ? And don't tell me it is to "qualify" voters because that is not going to happen.

1

Neil O'Keeffe 1 year ago

Wow, out of the mouth of babes! What a concept and who would decide who the "dunces" are? Takes one to know one so you get my nomination. And skin in the game, what the heck does that mean? If anything there is way too much (lobbying) skin in the game already. Your comments never fail to amaze me and I do appreciate your consistency, you go to the head of the class for being such an ASStute observer.

1

rhys jones 1 year ago

If the electorate is that stupid, the majority gets what they deserve. I'm more inclined to believe the system is flawed, than call over half my friends and neighbors dunces.

Who can tell us what the 9th Amendment is all about, off the top of their head? (rhetorical; no reply necessary) Maybe I'm a dunce... and I have no skin in the game, just my taxes, no assets (except an old truck) so would I still get to vote?

1

Scott Wedel 1 year ago

As Jim's letter shows, it is not that hard for someone with experience on the City Council to identify what is wrong which is a city staff making decisions instead of presenting a fair analysis to the city council to make decisions.

I think much of Scott Ford's reason for running for city council is to fix that. Hopefully other candidates will also run.

This letter to the editor shows that Mr Engelken is more capable than the current city council.

0

mark hartless 1 year ago

One need only look at the leadership in place across this country and then ask: "who put them there" to know how many dunces are voting.

"Skin in the game", Neil, means that if you don't pay taxes or have not served in the military you shouldn't vote. It should further mean that everyone gets an additional vote for every $10,000 paid in taxes, or something of that nature. This is how corporations are ran... no shares, no vote... the more shares, the more votes you get. Simple.

And thank you, Neil, for acknowledging that I am consistent.

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

-Winston Churchill

0

Neil O'Keeffe 1 year ago

The Putin regime in Russia should suit your interests just fine. What you are calling for is somewhere between a dictatorship and a plutocracy. Which do you prefer comrade Heartless?

1

mark hartless 1 year ago

Your ignorance is evident in your comparison. Many of the worlds dictatorships REQUIRE voting by ALL citizens... and look at the results. What I am calling for is voters to have 1) a vested interest in that which they influence, 2) a basic knolwledge of economics, 3) a modest understanding of the mechanization of government they presume to manipulate, 4) that people acknowledge their own copability in ELECTING the culprits they later bemoan.

1

Pat West 1 year ago

Mark, what if the candidates disappoint, or do not share your true beliefs? Will there be a none of the above box to check?

0

Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year ago

Neil - why do you resort to name calling. It is OK to disagree but really. Does it make you feel better? Does it make you feel superior?

1

Neil O'Keeffe 1 year ago

Because he is nothing but a bully (to say the least) and for better or worse I have never been one to backdown from confrontation. Still learning and striving to be a better person so thanks for your comments!

0

cindy constantine 1 year ago

Just when I thought you were for smaller govt/less taxes you now surprise me, Mark, with the need for a new govt agency that will cost the taxpayers $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and employ thousands of workers to pre-qualify voters by reviewing all our tax returns and military records. Are you nuts????????? Why don't we just let Donald Trump, George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Koch Bros. just duke it out and get rid of all voting.

0

mark hartless 1 year ago

The tendency of the people to blame the leadership they put in place rather than blame themselves for the mess we are in is exactly what will lead us into a dictatorship. The sheeple will throw up their hands and say "the system is broken", or "we need a strong leader who can fix this". etc

The reality is: Only really naive people would think they can elect a "good" mayor to do a "good" job when they can't seem to elect a council to do so.

You guys are basically acknowledging that you can't drive a Subaru, so you want to switch to a Cadillac. It ain't the car, folks, it's the drunks trying to drive it...

1

cindy constantine 1 year ago

No, my point was that I think we need to have a full time employee, elected by the people whose job is the City's business. City Council members all have to earn a living so their tenure on the Council is shared time with their other life. We need more than a City Manager who acts at the whim of the Council---when they are given direction which has been sorely lacking. Jim's letter indicates he understands the downside to the current council parade.

1

Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year ago

I don't always agree with the way Mark tries to get his point across but... Nero is fiddling while Rome is burning http://www.nationalreview.com/article/356805/american-satyricon-victor-davis-hanson

1

Scott Wedel 1 year ago

Well, none of the current city council ran as being subservient to city staff.

One of the strengths of a city council style of government is that it often takes only one or two members to start asking tough questions to convince the rest of the city council to delay making final decisions and instead get answers from city staff. This city council appears to have drunk the Kool-aid been remarkable at what they've accepted without question from city staff.

That letter by Scott Ford and Good that so quickly got so much community support is an example of how little independent thinking was shown by the city council.

1

Neil O'Keeffe 1 year ago

Because he is nothing but a bully and for better or worse I have never been one to backdown from confrontation. Still learning and striving to be a better person so thanks for you comments!

0

mark hartless 1 year ago

Pat,

Just got home and saw your question above.

Yes, there should ABSOLUTELY be a "none of the above" category.

1

mark hartless 1 year ago

Neil,

Are you saying that voters should NOT have : 1) a vested interest in that which they influence, 2) a basic knolwledge of economics, 3) a modest understanding of the mechanization of government they presume to manipulate, 4) to acknowledge their own copability in ELECTING the culprits they later bemoan??

I do not mind your strong opinions. Nor do I mind you calling me names.

However, what I'd really like you to do is THINK... Why would we NOT want smarter, less gullible, less self-centered voters who think long term?

And why do you presume that everyone who has a pulse should have a say in running things? They don't do that at the asylum, at corporations, at sports teams, at schools, etc. Why let utterly ignorant people drive the bus???

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.