To the editor:
The Cape's city manager's request for substantial monies to retain consultants for recommendations for efficiencies in city operations and procedures is a bad idea. While one normally would desire to achieve increased efficiency in city government operations there are factors now that make that funding request problematic and dubious.
The prior city manager's work for efficiency and fiscal restraint clashed with the city's unions. The unions demanded that he resign or be fired. The city unions then sought the ouster of the council members who supported the city manager. The unions endorsed the opponents of those council members. In the light voter turnout, the union-endorsed candidates won. The first thing the new majority council members did was to fire the city manager. The city's Financial Advisory Committee, which had been critical of the underfunding and actuarial unsoundness of city pensions under the union contracts, had its members removed by the new council majority.
Some recommendations for efficiency and/or fiscal savings will invariably involve city employees and their unions. I believe it is clearly understandable why the city manager desires that such recommendations originate from a consultant and not him. Under the existing circumstances I cannot fault him for wanting consultants for that task. I also believe the city manager will have more knowledge, experience and education on city government than a consultant he might hire. Moreover I'm wary of the city council's willingness to accept some recommendations that are opposed by city unions. It therefore, today, may be in our taxpayers' best interests not to spend money on consultants under existing circumstances.
Arnold E. Kempe