Over the past few weeks, letters have been written to the Local about some problems occurring in Pleasureville. I now live in Pleasureville and have attended the past four city commission meetings. I would like to make a few comments on my observations of these meetings and maybe ask a few questions.
If I go to Norm’s or the Dollar Store and buy something, I always receive a receipt for my purchase. This receipt shows the date, business name, time of checkout, what I purchased and the cost. Not only is this receipt for me, but for the business as well. I get a receipt so I will know what I spent and how much I paid for each item.
The business has a copy of my receipt, so they can see what inventory went out that day and how much money should have been taken in. This process is not only good business practice, it is basic accountability procedure.
If our mayor, city clerk or any of the city commission, goes to any store and buys anything for themselves, they will get a receipt. If they don’t get one, I am quite sure they will ask for one, because they expect one for their own accounting process.
Some people will say that I’m nuts for comparing a receipt for a purchase to a time sheet, but if you really think about it, I’m not.
The item I purchase will have labels on it, or on the box, telling me what I am buying. If I am buying a food item, the labels will tell me all about what is in the food item or its expiration date. If I am buying something electronic, the box gives me information about the product: how many watts it has, batteries or not, warranty, special features. So there is something written down that is going to explain to me the product that I am buying with my money. If the product doesn’t do or isn’t what the label says it is, I will take it back for full refund, so I will need my receipt with all my purchasing information.
A timesheet breaks down in writing what the taxpayer is paying to an employee for doing his or her job. Hours worked, time in and out, vacation time, sick time and any other information that might be needed in keeping an accounting to the taxpayer. Even though the mayor and city clerk said the city ordinance did not require the city clerk to keep a time sheet, wasn’t keeping a time sheet just good, basic accounting procedure?
My next question is if not doing a timesheet was because it was not required by the city ordinance, why would the city clerk turn around and do something that city ordinance said she couldn’t do, and the mayor approve it, which city ordinance said he could not legally do?
Let me see, doing something that is being totally accountable to the taxpayers, versus doing something that is totally illegal; that seems to me to be a no brainer. Does anybody have any red flags pop up in their head?
My next observation is from the last two meetings. In the February meeting, the mayor requested $8,000 to $10,000 to put rock and concrete in the floor of the building that had just been purchased for the fire department by the city. A lengthy discussion followed with the city commission tabling the request until the March meeting. To me, the tabling of the request meant for the mayor to do nothing until the next meeting.
Lo and behold, about two weeks later, I was informed by City Commissioner Pam Bramblett that the mayor had already had the rock and concrete done through the fire department’s own funds, without any consultation of the governing city commission. In the March meeting, the mayor asked for help in paying for work done on a fire truck about five months prior. I would think that those repairs would have already been paid for. Was this request for funds for repair of a truck or really a suspicious request for funds to pay for the concrete? That’s how it appears to me.
During the discussion about these funds, Bramblett asked the mayor about city funds being used for the totally separate fire department. She then asked the city attorney if city gave the fire department funding, if the fire department had to provide an accounting of those funds to the city. The attorney said yes. That is when the mayor got very frustrated, threw up his hands and said “Just forget it, we’ll make it somehow.”
Why would the mayor get so upset about good basic taxpayer accountability? More red flags pop up in my head.
Just because basic taxpayer accountability is not in an ordinance, it still should be required and expected of our elected officials and all city employees or city contractors.