Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yes Virginia, there is a city government more dysfunctional than Scottsdale's

Surprisingly enough (there's hint if there ever was one :) ), it's not even Mesa.

Just follow Loop 101 westbound to Bell Road west of Arrowhead, then exit and head west a few miles...

From the AZ Rep -
Surprise City Manager Jim Rumpeltes dropped a bombshell at the Surprise City Council meeting Thursday night, saying council members threatened to fire him if he didn't give them fatter auto stipends.


Rumpletes accused council members of pressuring him to improperly fire top city staff in violation of the city code. He singled Councilman Joe Johnson out by name.

"When staff is negotiating with outside parties, it is common for some council members to have independent meetings without staff's knowledge," Rumpeltes said. "Polling of each other and lining up votes in advance is a common practice for some. Threats and coercion are also common for some."

"I learned of that with the renewal of my last contract," Rumpeltes said. "While my mother was dying, I was told (by council members), 'Give us a large auto allowance or you're gone'."

Apparently, the auto allowances have been a recurring issue for some residents.

From a March 2007 AZ Rep article -
The Surprise city attorney has rejected more than 1,500 petition signatures a resident gathered in hopes of forcing all City Council members to record their auto mileage rather than receive a flat stipend.

The city attorney said that the allowances are an internal administrative issue and not subject to petition or public vote.

Generally speaking, IRS rules require that mileage be documented; however, that's an issue to be worked out between the IRS, Surprise council members, and their personal accountants.

Anyway, if the City Manager's allegation can be proven, those council members have risked jail time for a few more dollars to pay for driving around their districts. I don't think that even The Scottsdale Activist or its contributors has ever accused the members of the Scottsdale City Council of being for sale at a discount price.

BTW - $480 per month?!? That's a LOT of driving in relatively small districts. With a mayor and 6 councilors, that's more than $40K per year. A small fleet of City-owned golf carts (8 - 10) would pay for itself in 2 years and it would have the added benefit of letting the council members blend in with their constituents (hey - drive through Surprise, especially the Sun City Grand area. Trust me on this. :) )

You'd think that a city council comprised of Republicans would be more fiscally responsible.

Have a great weekend!

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