A New Year Brings Hope Amidst Contention
There was much accomplished in the past year, some of it was beneficial to the community: some detrimental. There were instances that brought embarrassment to the Mayor and City Council. With that embarrassment came a shadow of deceit cast over the Mayor and Council. The reputation and integrity of the City’s Governance were severely tainted.
Some elected officials have forgotten Core Values! What are they? A good example, “Ductus Exemplo,” Lead By Example. Wixom has a motto of noted significance, “A Community With Character!” Some of that character has been tarnished. Furthermore, a Mayor and a responsible Council do not permit the destruction of a government employee’s personnel files or department’s files. Accountability and responsibility are basic tenants of the Public’s trust. Public trust has been degraded by Council’s muteness of the obvious, ignoring City Charter requirements, and ignoring Administrative misconduct in office.
The Mayor takes credit for what has been previously accomplished in spite of his record of facts and actions that are contradictory to what he has publicly stated. His actions are actually contradictions for Administrative’s reorganizations; he also made a strong effort to maintain status-quot staffing, a resistance to efficient reorganization of departments, and resisted potential cost savings. These actions are not principles of leadership by example.
The Mayor and Council representatives have made no relevant comment to what precipitated a dismissal of an efficient, and effective City Manager. This muteness speaks volumes to back-door political mischief running rampant with some members of the Council. There is no evidence that this inappropriate activity will stop.
The political representatives of the root causes factors are still at the Council’s table! A lack of public knowledge into their own government’s private executive meetings is prohibited and the so-called Freedom Of Information Act actually restricts the “freedom” of public access for determining the WHY.
Leadership, transparency of issues, and cooperative governance go hand-in-hand. Without the Leadership and the successful applicability of good management principles by the Mayor and Council, there can be no effective Administrative operations. The elimination of deceit or deceptive practices within the Administration of the public’s business is a top priority for the 2016 Council and City Manager, Goodlein.
Furthermore, a Mayor who leads the Council with a predisposed political posturing of favoritism does an injustice to the community. The desire for economic development and the Administrative duties of an elected official should be equally balanced and distributed from the Mayor’s seat.
Additionally, the Chairman of the Council and Council have to follow the City’s Charter, and when the people ask questions of their Mayor or their representatives of why an action was taken, those questions mandate responses. Answers, not muteness is required of the Mayor and the City Manager.
Responses will be requested of the City Manager in this Budget year. Much has to be accomplished by City Manager, Clarence Goodlein. He will administrative and develop the budgeting and management of personnel that provides public services in 2016. There too are annual payments for employee’s pensions and health-care benefits; both are increasing exponentially. Other interests: multi-year budget planning, zoning alternatives, ordinance enforcement and regulations, and asset management; sewer plant and maintenance costs, and the annual Capital Improvements make for a full-plate for contemplation and competition for funding.
Obviously, general operations of City Departments and the continuance of services have to be reviewed for their effectiveness and cost containment. Questions on taxes and millage will be asked. An adequate and appropriate response is anticipated.
With all of these items trending, and in spite of the obvious missteps of the Mayor and the Council, I believe the City is in a position that has considerable development potential. Recognize that a City cannot “do” economic development! [Facilitate-Yes! Do it-No!] Notably, the City Administration’s economic initiatives are limited, but rather positive.
The City’s geographical location and infrastructure attributes continue to be attractive to builders and developers. Now is their time to purchase either land or facilities within the city’s limits and obtain access to available resources of water, sewer, and electrical power. Furthermore, access to expressways, rail, and to Detroit’s south-eastern expansion of Michigan’s markets are promising.
On the downside of this economic evaluation is the present disadvantages within the downtown commercial area. There is limited signage acknowledging what-is-where. Word-of-mouth is a dominant factor for awareness of restaurants and commercial businesses. Trees block signage, signage is limited, parking is dispersed when the Park is used for a community function. Additionally, the downtown is bifurcated into an east-side/west-side split because of the internal Wixom Road /Pontiac Trail configuration. Therefore, walk-ability becomes an issue.
There is also an issue of contentiousness among City Officials, developers, and builders over the viability of economic development in many areas. There is a prevailing undercurrent that says that you need to “know and support” the right people, or you may not make the preferred list for development of your project/s. For those companies who are considering development within Wixom, the playing field is not yet level. Politics is obvious one of the root causes features of that disruptive terrain. The new Council, with existing members, must level that development playing field and remove the political aspects affecting developers.
All business interests have to play on the same level field and by the same rules of equal opportunity, treatment, and fairness. If developers and builders want accommodation, the prevailing attitude of, “Call me if you want consideration” has to stop. “Call-me” is not economic development, nor is it a quality of Leadership!
Over the next several years, there will be critical and significant situations for businesses and industries development up for consideration within Wixom. Corporate developers and builder’s success or failure has much to do with planning, zoning, taxes and available infrastructural resources. There is a present hindrance of local political interests competing for political power and influence in the present market place. This is not by accident but motivated by political and monetary interests. This too is not leadership but more political mischief detrimental to the community.
Politics and political influence cannot disrupt the economic future of the community. Wixom’s Planning Commission and the Boards and Commissions have to stand firm on their voted convictions, thereby, prohibiting political intrusion into future developments.
A new Council is in place in January and there is much to do with a new City Manager involved. Thanks to the previous Administration’s initiatives with legislative approval, the Budget Stabilization Fund has plenty of money. Present departments now reconfigured by former City Manager, Tony Nowicki has potential for future savings. Potential Tax Revenues, Fund Balance, and lower Operating expenses are in some instances better than previous years.
Already, there are residents stating that, “I want my 3.59 mills back which lowers the millage rate for all. How the millage rate is considered is a contentious question not yet resolved.
There is a positive future for Wixom if the Mayor, the Council, and the City’s Manager have their Budget study sessions with the correct, and latest economic forecasts and demographics available. A continuation to monitor and recognize present and future legacy costs in these sessions has to be critically discussed noting the new rules applicably to these legacy interests.
With the New Year coming, there is a sincere desire for the success of the newly elected Council and City Manager, Clarence Goodlein. Their success is the community’s success. Their failure is the community’s failure; failure is not an option.
Voters should take note. A 16% voter turnout is not a confidence builder when 84% are not interested in the success or failure of the community. Let us hope that 2016 will be a better year for all; specifically, when the tenacious representation of today’s National political environment is enough to make any voter sick of political participation.
Yes, “Facts are Troublesome,” but to ignore the obvious is detrimental to all; public apathy opens the way to a obstinate government, a distrustful society, and a potential for the future abdication of the rule of law. Just read or listen to the daily news reports!
For Wixom to succeed in 2016, a slogan is offered,”Lead, Follow or Get-Out-Of-The-Way. Believe in it!
Thanks for supporting the Wixom Eagle in its attempt to provide transparency of local governmental actions and their decisions that affect the well-being of the community.
Have a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.
As always your comments are welcomed.