Friday, July 9, 2010
Louise Smith Layeth The Smacketh Down In The Times Today
In 2008, two Salisbury City Council members were concerned about vacating the old Station 16 fire station on South Division Street. Fire Chief David See reported on the building's deficiencies, saying the facility didn't comply with today's safety or fire codes. The heating system is 20 years old with no central air conditioning; electrical and plumbing systems would require total replacement. Only one means of egress exists from the second floor.
On May 26, one council member said she heard about a fire sedan that was delayed because of the bridge. I requested a report on the number of emergency calls with delayed response times between May 1-31. No such incidents were reported to the assistant fire chiefs. All responses met the department's goal of four minutes -- which is more stringent than the national standard.
The record clearly indicates this facility is not needed to maintain a fire service. The building still sits empty.
A lease purchase error occurred over replacement of a dump truck; this was addressed to council on Feb. 18. This truck was to replace one destroyed in a fire.
Council support could not be secured for the budget amendment. Meanwhile, this truck cannot be returned; thousands of dollars in legal fees have accumulated. We now await the attorney general's opinion.
Planning and Zoning staff has held 33 meetings with individuals, eight council work sessions and one public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan during 22 months of preparation; it was pulled from the council's May 10 scheduled adoption to answer additional questions -- with a request for another stand-alone public meeting.
Acting Fire Chief Richard Hoppes was appointed May 1, 2009. Three names were supplied to the council on June 3 by the mayor. There was no majority for any candidate. It's been more than a year and still a new chief has not been selected.
On Aug. 26, 2009, I requested information on prelegislative meetings between the mayor, two council members and attorneys. A second request was made May 21. Not receiving any responses, on June 3 I repeated my request. On June 4 a reply came saying the mayor had not authorized release of this information and is considering executive privilege.
On June 24, I made a fourth request. Administration is waiting on the mayor for directions. More than a year and nothing has moved forward.
The list goes on.
Has cooperation yielded to inflexibility? Has legislation yielded to micromanagement? Has progress yielded to gridlock? Is the business of the city moving forward?
•Louise Smith is president of the Salisbury City Council
Posted by Jonathan Taylor at 7/09/2010 09:00:00 AM