Mayor’s 100-Day economic plan and 800-pound gorillas coming to a head

We are anxiously anticipating the Mayor’s 100 day plan in the next few days. We hope what we see is what is necessary. It will be conventional to only include those long needed and ambitious improvements to the tourist and hospitality sectors, mixed with some modicum of light research and development of “green” manufacturing as goals.

But, if Mayor Adam Barringer fails to take on the “800-pound gorilla” hiding in the wings that is driving the high taxes and less than acceptable quality of city services, the plan will be worthless and unachievable and will become, but another book on the shelf.

For you see we must address the 800-pound gorilla before we will be able to attract, sustain, or encourage further development of any kind in the economic sector. And that 800-pound gorilla is the overpaid and under producing city staff, coupled with the unsustainable public safety union contracts.

But the responsibility for handling this “gorilla”, with direction provided by the Mayor and the City Commission, lies withCity Manager Pam Brangaccio and the department heads who work for her. What worries me is that if the Teamsters’ contract fiasco of last week is an example of either the capabilities or style of management we can expect out of our City Manager and staff, then we are in serious trouble and might not want to hold our breath for any action to reduce the “gorilla’s” stranglehold on city expenses.

Placing a contract that lacked any fiscal analysis and had no briefing for review by the elected officials, on the consent agenda that inhibits public interaction, is not the open and transparent government I think we all voted for last fall, nor one that seeks to reduce spending, as there were no significant savings of any kind in that generally “business as usual” contract. And thus it does not bode well for any significant reduction in costs and thus taxes, which is essential in order to attract economic development.

So next week if we see a less than comprehensive economic development plan, that only addresses the sourcing of new business development, we can just put it on the shelf, continue to complain and start planning for the next election.

On the other hand, if the Mayor calls for a top to bottom review of city government, featuring a re-focus on the delivery of only essential or cores services and at least a 10-20% reduction in city spending as a precursor to energizing his plan, there is hope. For only with such a direction will businesses be enticed to come here and develop ventures in our fair city.

Otherwise we should just start planning for the next election and hope that 800-pound gorilla does not gain any weight. For you see gorillas, uncontrolled, will always eat more bananas, especially when they are abundant as apparently the City manager and her staff think our tax dollars are.

Let’s hope our city “gorilla” goes on the Adam diet for gorilla weight reduction and not the Pam weight- sustainment program.

About the Blogger

Palmer Wilson's picture

Palmer Wilson, a retired policeman, lives in New Smyrna Beach with his wife, Diane.

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