Special Council Session Tomorrow
In addition to Tuesday evening’s regular Chico City Council meeting, an agenda has been posted for a special “Goal Setting Session” at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. If you plan to follow the City’s budget process, this will be an important meeting to either attend or watch from home.
I attended last year’s two goal setting meetings, while I was still a City employee. The only thing I took away from the meetings was a realization that Nakamura’s leadership style would consist of quashing any communication between staff and Council by convincing Council they are corporate bigwigs rather than public servants, of further reinforcing the theme of management by fear and secrecy, and of blowing pretty-colored smoke up the Council’s collective skirt. It was during the first of those two meetings that he promised the Council a list of the department directors’ priorities for their consideration, which never publicly materialized, and about which he subsequently lied to Councilmember Ritter on March 5, 2013 (watch for a future post on this topic!).
At this meeting, Nakamura is supposed to “provide the Council with an overview of the priorities and goals that were approved by Council in January 2013,” which as far as I can tell wound up being just a list of vague ideas: Public Safety, Economic Development, Administrative Services (Finance), Transportation / Environment, and Technology. In other words, Nakamura had free rein to do what he pleased, as long as he could jam his agenda into one of the categories on that list. I guess we’ll find out what his interpretation of those “priorities and goals” was, based on where the budget dollars end up.
I was looking at Nakamura’s presentation linked to the agenda and had to laugh. I remember seeing the pre-meeting version of last year’s presentation, which included a blank page right in the middle. Staff thought that was where the department director priorities would show up, but it turned out to be his lame excuse for a rightsized organizational chart. That bombshell was the beginning of the end of staff’s respect for him. I wonder what surprises will pop up during this year’s presentation.
I also noticed that he listed the Cost Allocation Plan (CAP) under Transportation / Environment. How many times can I say that the CAP is a FINANCE study? It distributes ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT costs across Funds? It has absolutely nothing to do with transportation or the environment. Maybe Nakamura is the source of Sorensen’s ongoing confusion about the CAP; he can’t seem to sort it out from the User Fee Study and still somehow believes the CAP was “buried on the 2nd floor for two years.” The 2nd floor is Building, Planning, and Engineering — not Finance. But I guess those departments could easily be mistaken one for the other. I shouldn’t be so judgmental.
Here is the Chico Enterprise Record’s slightly different take on the meeting: ‘Chico City Council to set goals in workshop Monday‘
Anyway, I would encourage you to watch the meeting. Perhaps you will get some foreshadowing of the direction in which Nakamura intends to take your city next year. I expect to hear about more consultants and studies and contracting out of services. Is that what you want? Will that grow Chico’s economy or send your tax dollars away to other communities?
Please get involved and make your voice heard. Nakamura still has no clue about what makes Chico such a special place, so if you want your Councilmembers to consider what’s important to you in the goal setting, you’re going to have to speak up and tell them yourself.
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