Wednesday, December 7

I don't play Golf, and this makes me see red

I haven't ever been too interested in the game of Golf. For that reason, I confess that I usually don't pay too much attention to discussions about the city owned golf courses.

However, the articles in the Trib the past two days (here and here) have got me paying attention. Those courses bled over $200 thousand from our city treasury this year.

With the Lewis and Clark party mess, that means that our municipal tax dollars are going to have to make up about $750 thousand, just from losses on city projects THIS YEAR. Is there any wonder why we elected a new mayor?

To compound insult to injury, the city hired a consultant to tell them what is wrong with the management of the golf courses. At a fee of $24 thousand, he gave some commonsense advice that should already have been obvious to our city manager, parks and rec director and city commission. Segregate the operation of the courses to a separate department, lower the labor costs and stop running the courses like a lemonade stand.

Well, now we have the expensive report. These changes should be implemented. Now.

Geeguy has written a great post about this issue here. Go read it, and be prepared to start getting even more upset about city management.

7 comments:

Mike said...

I read the story on the GF Trib site today and was wondering when you were going to post something :-)

Treasure State Jew said...

I guess the problem is that I find golf to be one of the most stultifying games every invented. While that might not make sense from a guy that likes to spend 1 1/2 hours looking at the bottom of a pool, I just can't get into the game.

(I do, however, like mini golf. Feel free to guffaw.)

However, it gets my attention when so many of my tax dollars go to support the facility. I am not supporting divesting municipal ownership in the courses, but the city should be accountable for running the courses on at least a break even basis, INCLUDING THE SERVICE OF CAPITAL DEBT.

Mike said...

Why guffaw? I love golf, but suck at playing. Maybe it's because I like being critical of the greens.

I would posit that GF seems to be one of the most fecklessly run cities I've ever read about. From the pool fiasco, to Lewis & Clark and the golf courses, something is amiss in Maltville.

Are there any decent investigative reporters at the Trib?Usually when you find such rampant mismanagement and supposed incompetence in public officials, someone is on the take.

Treasure State Jew said...

Madame Mayor-Elect;

This impression, by many GF residents, is a large part of the reason for your victory last month. I suggest that cleaning up this image (and any actual corruption you may find) is your biggest and most important task.

Not an easy job, but I hope the one that you signed up for.

GeeGuy said...

I'll take Mike's comments a step further. I don't think one needs to find actual 'corruption' in order to understand the problems. The fact is that no one is watching the store. Every department head runs their show like it's their own little kingdom.

For example, why in the H*LL are we flying people halfway around the world to get drunk with Russians? It's a spiff, that's all. A little bonus to which our 'leaders' deem themselves entitled.

Every time a clerk looks at you with disdain as you approach his or her desk in the Civic Center, you are feeling the problem. They think that it's theirs!

dona stebbins said...

Aaron, I agree that the deep dissatisfaction with city management accounts for the election results. It also accounts for the fact that I ran!
The poor management at the Golf Courses is symptomatic of the entire structure. Does anyone else remember a guy named Tom Sullivan? For those who don't, he was the longtime Director of the Park and Rec Department who lined his sock drawer with money embezzled from the pools and golf courses. It is obvious to me that this seems to be a "tradition." The Tribune seems to have forgotten this episode and made no mention of the overwhelming and obvious need for a POS system and some checks and balances.
Geeguy makes a great point about the arrogance and the "little kingdoms." It has been so long since anyone challenged these people that they feel they are "bullet-proof."
I plan on asking the tough and ugly questions I promised to ask during the campaign, and I urge you all to contact me at any time with questions, concerns, and observations.
It really is past time we had open and accountable city government.

Treasure State Jew said...

Dona;

Well said. We are counting on you to do so and hope you have success.

As for a POS system, as I posted over at Geeguy's place, they are not a guarantee of anything. They can be gamed with not too much more work than a manual system.

A POS system will not detect a sale that is never run through the system, etc. They can also be very expensive.

What is needed, more than technology, is management. A bare bones POS (which could be put together with a minumum of expense and fuss) could help, but nothing will help more than clear policies that are enforced by strong management.