Is it really “toxic” in city hall?
That’s what O’Keefe & Associates said in its financial analysis on Hamtramck that was prepared for the state Treasury Department. The Review recently obtained a copy of the report from the state.
O’Keefe was hired to detail what lead to the financial meltdown of the city and why an emergency manager was needed. Gov. Snyder eventually did appoint an EM.
Here’s what, in part, the folks behind the report had to say about elected officials:
“Financial issues and mismanagement by elected officials and previous administrationshave created a toxic atmosphere within the City Council and City Hall.”
The cure, the report said, is: “The City Council needs to adopt a more positive attitude toward governing. Continued infighting and public acrimony will inhibit the City’s ability to attract quality people to work there and stymie efforts to turn around and grow.”
We have on occasion talked about the behavior of some city councilmembers during council meetings. In short, some, who will go unnamed, have turned meetings upside down with outlandish accusations, outbursts and insults.
What should have been 20-minute meetings instead ran on for two hours of non-stop grandstanding.
The antics reminded us of what happened in the mid-1990s when the council was also out of control, which eventually lead to a state-appointed emergency financial manager.
With the adoption of a new city charter in 2005, and a new form of government where a city manager took over day-to-day operations, the arguments and political infighting mostly disappeared.
But little by little, it has crept back in recent years. There is proof positive that as a city we pay a steep price for that kind of behavior.
We don’t mean to point fingers at anyone. We stress this to encourage elected officials to chart a new course, especially with the potential of four new councilmembers joining at the end of this term.
If Hamtramck elected officials continue to go down a path of chaos, and the city once again slips into a financial emergency, you can bet that if the state has to intervene once again after the emergency manager leaves, the third time won’t be a charm.