It’s Thursday morning, the 23rd of December and Cincinnati’s city council still has no budget and no idea how to close a $55 million gap. The budget committee gaveled a recess 30 seconds after starting its meeting to discuss the budget… several times yesterday. After the final attempt at a meeting at 6pm last night, everyone went home only to see on the news that a bomb threat had been called in at city hall.
Not that an actual bomb could have done any damage. According to most commentators, not much has gone on at city hall this past year.
Council knew the issues with the budget shortfall since this spring, and chose not to do anything about it.
The city manager proposed laying off police and firefighters in order to bring the budget to balance, but the polictical weaklings who occupy council can’t consider that, or the miriade other solutions proposed.
After perusing many of the media outlets various stories and opinion articles, the most logical voice comes from one of the city’s “alternative” newspapers. City Beat.
While the writer of that article was convinced a budget would be passed by the time his story was published, he was wrong. But the points made about the entire system of Cincinnati’s governing system needing to be changed was spot on.
According to the story, which is linked here, the at-large elected council and the public “face” of a mayor, along with an unelected city manager accountable to the council only; that kind of system for a city like Cincinnati is unworkable.
As has been clearly shown this past year, no one takes responsibility and everyone is more concerned about their own image, and no one makes the hard decisions that has to face a public’s outrage. While council is certainly charged with passing a budget, they can blame everyone else if “hard” decisions have to be made, except when it gets tough and then the proverbial can gets kicked down the street. Until it hits the wall, which is the end of the year.
The polictical system needs to be changed. And its more than just a “throw the bums out” change, but a fundamental change in the form of city government. In last weekends Cincinnati Enquirer editorial, it was noted that the budget crisis could force an overdue change, including three words that are anathema to politicians; consolidation, competition and collaboration. The weakness of our current city government cannot allow for those “c” words to be uttered or acted on.