Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Newspaper Stunt Flames Council Members Daring To Review City Manager
The story itself appears to be a well-overplayed diversion by the newspaper to keep Janesville taxpayers eyes off of the soon to be reckoned with $1M deficit. At the same time, an early review of the city manager as proposed by several council members seems more an effort by them to change expectations and soften the manager's divisive point-and-blame approach during those budget deliberations.
You might recall the city's manager, Mark Freitag, made a big splash during his state-of-the-city speech earlier in the year when he announced the city will begin the next budget with a $800,000 deficit and then soon laid blame for the shortage on union negotiated 1% percent raises for city employees over the next few years. Keep in mind that the manager, his administration and the city's farcically assumed "progressive" city council are in complete lockstep with Forward Janesville's long-term wealth transfer agenda benefiting local elitists and city hall insiders.
Forward Janesville's city agenda, an "economic development" program based on a right-wing mutation of heavy government dependency and trickle-down economics (they are a self-described conservative group), is engineered on the widespread use of shifting localized TIF surplus dollars away from the city's operational public obligations to instead fund selective private improvements for FJ's membership under an illusion of "forgivable" loans and promise of property tax payments.
The city manager, administration and council also recently quarantined, as per Forward Janesville, future growth in assessed values of the city's entire downtown in a TIF District for the next 27 years. As you probably know, those future property taxes skimmed off the top (estimated at $30M over the next 27 years) cannot be used for general fund obligations. Instead, the money will be used to fund FJ's downtown trickle-down ARISE gimmick.
Adding to the specter and enormity of the city's $1M deficit, several council members accused the manager of ignoring their agenda item to increase pay slightly for poll workers. The poll worker proposal, expected to add $6K to the deficit, was later oddly opposed by administration employees many of whom receiving raises themselves the manager previously blamed for the deficit. You can see how all of this is getting out of control. This should not surprise anyone.
Over that same period of time, a city employee survey with an anonymous feedback section included heavy personal criticism of Freitag and the city's leaders in general. Among the criticism were accusations that he is a bully, counterproductive, does not accept criticism and does not communicate well. To be fair to Freitag, more than 90% of the feedback was either neutral or far less critical.
Soon after, several council members including the council president proposed holding an early review of the city manager mediated by a facilitator, but quickly caught flak from the Janesville Gazette and their political drive-by support base for their proposal.
The Gazette in a bizarre editorial accused the council president of playing politics and sidestepping his job by requesting an independent mediator for the review. When in truth, NOT having a qualified mediator or "facilitator" instills the notion that the council president is indeed playing politics and engaging in a witch hunt. It appears as if the Gazette is trying to bait him precisely into that.
Although the council's formal review of the city manager has been recently canceled (they will attempt to hold a "discussion" on the matter), under this seemingly highly charged atmosphere of personal attacks, power playing, misunderstanding and miscommunication - a mediator should be demanded, not discouraged, for the manager's NEXT formal review.
Unfortunately again, Janesville does not have a mayor subject to review by voters. The city manager is a hired hand appointed by a top heavy Forward Janesville committee and approved by the council.
And, that is where this mess stands for now.
RNR - Janesville Appoints Army Colonel For City Manager
RNR - Major City Hall Stories Are Swept Under The Rug
Posted by Lou Kaye at 2:06 PM