My congratulations to all the candidates and incumbents who will be serving in elected office for the next two years. I wish you all the best, and hope that you will take your responsibility seriously, with the best interests of all the citizens of Middletown as your primary goal. During the campaign, there was a lot said and promised about transparency, accountability and managing the budget. To that end, I humbly submit my wish list and suggestions for the newly elected officials. This list should be easy, since most candidates campaigned on the premise of supporting many of these issues.
My Wish List
Board of Education
Institute Performance Reviews with peer input for the Superintendent and Assistants. Performance reviews are done in the majority of private companies and for all federal employees. Peer reviews are used by a majority of private companies and are valuable tools in determining the actual performance of an individual.
Review the Superintendent's contract for renewal when it is not more than a year left on the contract. Use the Performance Review to determine if he should be renewed.
Stop mileage payments to all school employees. Require vouchers and itineraries for any mileage reimbursement. This is standard practice in most private companies.
Submit a line item budget to the Common Council. Stick to the budget.
Change independent auditors.
Justify requests for changes in the budget or line-item transfers.
Set up a complaint review with the school system for all employees.
Conduct reviews of complaints with the Superintendent
Comply with all state laws, city charter and current court and labor department rulings, immediately.
Comply with federal law regarding whistle-blower protection for employees who bring reports of wrong-doing.
Demand a line item budget from the Board of Education.
Require justification for requests for changes in the budget or line-item transfers in the BoE budget.
Require BoE and the school administration to comply with state laws, the city charter and court and labor department rulings.
Consolidate Finance Offices of the Board of Education and the city.
Ensure that the Board of Education and School Administration comply with all state laws, city charter and current court and labor rulings, immediately.
Budgeting for street and other infrastructure maintenance and repairs, rather than borrowing to fund routine maintenance. Bonding increases the cost of maintenance by adding the interest to the cost. It give the false impression that the council is saving money, when you're actually spending more.
Build the Emergency fund to at least 2 months operating expenses, to keep our bonding interest rate low. Additionally, investment income can be included in the budget, to help keep taxes down.
Look for real savings to lower taxes. Don’t hide the spending and tell us that you’re saving money.
Planning and Zoning
Review and update the Plan of Conservation and Development.
Review and update city zoning code to support the Plan of Conservation and Development
Review and update the Commission By-laws to support the PCD and zoning code.
Conduct a search for a police chief and look at qualifications before recommending a candidate for approval by the Common Council.
I also have a few predictions on how this next administration will play out. I’ll hold on to those for now.
Again, congratulations and best wishes to all our newly elected officials.