Oct 2 2012

OPINION: Measure Y Will Send a Message

Piedmont resident thinks financial oversight and accountability are still missing –

Yes, I appreciate the high level of city services that Piedmont provides, and I’m willing to pay for them.  And yes, it is a fact that complex public works projects often have unforeseen problems that must be solved.

Clearly, the Undergrounding fiasco showed that the City’s management team failed to solve the problems, which cost Piedmont taxpayers millions.  But, what has been learned from this failure? 

Has the City Manager been held accountable?  He is still scheduled to retire with a generous retirement payout.  Has the City Council initiated new oversight mechanisms that would protect the next public works project from the same kind of management incompetence?  I haven’t seen any learning take place, indeed, we saw the City Council rush to commit another unsound fiscal mistake at Blair Park, which was stopped only by the threat of lawsuit from the Friends of Moraga Canyon, not because the Council had learned from previous mistakes.  Capital improvement project management techniques abound.  One simple one is to hire a second engineering firm to quality check the advice of your primary engineer for complex public works projects.

So how can we voters, we taxpayers, let our City Council and city managers know that they have to improve the way they manage expensive projects?  Voting NO on Measure Y can send the message.

If new management procedures for capital projects are put in place, procedures that cross-check expensive decisions and that hold the decision makers accountable, then I’d be willing to vote YES on the next tax measure.

Yours truly,

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.  The Piedmont Civic Association does not support or oppose candidates or ballot measures.

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