Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hitting a single, but no score

City Council recovers from strikeout on November 18 and gets to base in a re-do last night.  However, the team did not score in the inning.

The LORA meeting last night was so Councilor Skip O'Neill could state his conflict of interest and remove himself from all discussion and voting on the lease for Wishbone Home and Design in a LORA-owned building at 41 B Ave..  After a prompt from City Attorney David Powell, O'Neill declared his bias in the matter: He revealed that both his wife and daughter share interest in Wishbone.  He should have revealed this at the May 20 LOTW meeting when the initial lease was approved - at the last minute - with no paperwork available for the Council.  O'Neill's ignorance of ethical behavior in public office, or his forgetfulness in 2 meetings (May and Nov.) is inexcusable.

It was encouraging to see that the Mayor and Council members questioned LORA administrator, Brant Williams, about how LORA property in the North Anchor Blocks is handled.  They also asked how businesses might rent the vacant spaces.  Unfortunately, Mr. Williams replied that the process is for interested parties to come to him. Where
is the "For Lease" sign on any of the vacant spaces?  Can we have a policy about this please?!

We need the Council to be more inquisitive.  We need them to lift the veil and see how the city conducts the public's business.  Even if everything is aboveboard and well functioning, it doesn't mean there should not be changes in policy direction and management or operational practices.  There isn't any organization that can't use a periodic independent evaluation.

We need an audit.  The City of Portland has an in-house auditor, but it is a huge city and needs one.  Lake Oswego could get a check-up once a year using an outside firm.  The city should have its practices and finances tested to make sure all is running at peak efficiency.  This has nothing to do with doubting personnel services. It is about the Council's fiduciary obligation to make sure our city is functioning in the best manner possible. Trust but verify.

Last night the City Council did what it should have done 2 weeks ago:  Council members should state conflicts of interest and ask lots of questions of staff!

The home team needs more seasoning to deal with the curve balls, sliders, sinkers, and fast balls that are constantly being thrown at them.  If the team keeps looking at every pitch as if it were just for them so they could make home runs, the game of city politics will not be worth watching because the outcome would already be known.  This team needs an early Spring Training to figure out how to get what it wants from city staff - and a thorough audit would be a good place to start!

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