Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Checks and Balances in City Government

One of the biggest issues in the Crystal Mayor’s race, which has been championed by candidate Andrew Richter, is the lack of checks and balances among the Crystal City Council.

There are many reasons this has come up as an issue this year, not the least of which is the fact that Mayor ReNae Bowman was dating, and is now married to (as of this weekend), one of the members of the City Council.  Or it could be that Bowman, who has some bizarre vendetta against the West Metro Fire Department, had the council appoint her to the Fire Board as it’s “citizen representative”.  Or maybe it’s because the council rarely ever has a split vote, especially on the budget. Or it could be because the council is known to cackle about the unlimited power they have over the city’s Economic Development Authority.

Well, for whatever reason, there’s a perception that there’s a problem with checks and balances in our city’s government.  The issue was brought up at the debate, and both of the challengers, (Richter and Jim Adams) had tough words for the sitting Mayor. (View my debate recap here, and the full write up here.)

The Mayor, for her part, had an interesting answer.  She let us know that the City Council is it’s own Checks and Balances.

Well, Madam Mayor, I don’t buy that. You won’t convince me that when 28% of the council is married, they are independent, and can act as a set of checks and balances on each other.  And your other actions in office have shown that you, like most politicians, value power above everything else.

It’s time for some real transparency in the Crystal City Government.

Let’s hope the voters of Crystal agree, and bounce Bowman out of contention on August 14.