Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BREAKING NEWS - City Unveils Second Office

There are so many press releases coming out of City Hall these days chronicling every bit of minutiae that is directed out of 9th and Dakota.

The latest breaking news at City Hall is the new recently modeled offices of the Community Development Department. The Mayor created a second office for his newly appointed director, Darrin Smith. The Mayor has changed Smith's duties from just expanding affordable housing and public parking to economic development and downtown development. A big job for someone who has no economic development or planning experience. 

Every other director had to pare down their budgets but the Mayor redirects $18,000 to window dress Smith's new office. The cost to renovate this second office and buy some new furniture was $18,000 which I bet wasn't even in the budget. Something had to be cut from Community Development and Facilities Management to come up with this unbudgeted amount.

Huether said the cost to renovate the space is a "prudent use of taxpayer dollars," considering the expense. "Darrin and his team, they're going to help close multimillion dollar deals for the city and for these new companies, and you at least want to have an environment that is conducive to that," Huether said. Well, guess what folks -  a lot of money has been expended twice already to renovate the Mayor's suite of offices for the very reason Huether cites as his reason to spend taxpayer dollars on this new office for Smith.

What a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Window dressing seems to be more important than program services priorities or staffing needs.


  1. Don't most CEOs want to close those multimillion dollar deals with the Mayor, not some Department Head? After all, isn't the Mayor supposed to be the person in charge? I can't stand it when government officials frivolously waste taxpayer dollars. Doesn't the Mayor have pretty nice offices to hold his high powered meetings?

  2. So what's good for HR isn't good for anyone else?

  3. Hmmm, I didn't know HR got a second office but then I have been gone two years. The office was remodeled when I was director but that was to make the office ADA accessible. Hardly the same thing.

  4. The facts of the situation are included below. Unfortunately the most recent AL article on this topic left readers with room to interpret the situation incorrectly.

    The department was split between two buildings to accommodate the addition of two employees along with the newly expanded focus of the department’s efforts in economic development. Ideally there would be room for the entire department in City Hall but that was not possible.

    If renovating for ADA accessibility includes painting, carpeting, artwork, and new furniture then this must be the basis for all renovations made anywhere.

    I resign from further comment on the basis that any future interaction would most likely result in additional disagreement.

  5. Ha, good response! I always like a good debate. Disagreement, debate, whatever. Makes for good discussion. If we all agreed, it would be a boring world.

  6. HR budgeted and planned for its remodel so it could be prioritized along with the requests of all other departments. And the department completed the remodel in a much different economy, during a year when all employees received cost of living increases and the city produced a very large budget surplus. The Community Development office was remodeled during a year in which programs have been cut, hiring has been delayed and all departments have had to sacrifice. This was a year to focus on critical needs and this project doesn't meet that standard. Thanks to Jennifer for saying what many employees feel.