Saint Joseph’s City Council will decide Tuesday night – in a closed session – whether to renew City Manager Bruce Woody’s contract. Tuning Fork believes the decision is easy. No.
While blight, chronic unemployment and their companion, crime have grown under this administration’s watch, Mr. Woody has:
- Undertaken the costliest possible solution to stormwater separation, while missing a vast development and beautification opportunity for Saint Joseph Avenue and the city at large; resulting in skyrocketing sewer bills.
- Spent some $2.5 million to deface the Parkway entrance to Krug Park, mis-allocating CIP funds to do so.
- Allowed key department heads, who wield massive influence on community development matters, to immunize themselves from the consequences of their actions by living outside both the city and the county.
- Endorsed one costly, redundant outside study after another to ponder riverfront development, ignoring the numerous studies already completed.
- Pushed yet another redundant study through, to support his pipe dream and economic disaster, that would result in dropping a gambling joint between the river and downtown – ‘shaving’ SWT Design, Inc.’s fee to $151,000 by eliminating the public comment element of the study. Think about that – no public comment.
- Parlayed tax dollars to out-of-town consultants and administrators rather than keeping department heads focused on developing solutions with local business and organizations.
Any one of these decisions – and many others not mentioned here – are grounds for not renewing Mr. Woody’s contract, let alone endorsing a pay raise. As a result, the citizens and businesses of Saint Joseph are dealing with astronomical sewer bills. Police Chief Connally is constantly dealing with the mess. And Fire Chief Dalsing is literally putting out the fires. Chief Connally, in fact, clearly has his nose to the grindstone coordinating with the Sheriff Departments of Buchanan and Andrew County, Missouri and Kansas Highway Patrol and the ATF to pull criminals off the streets – no outside study required. Chief Connally and Chief Dalsing are excellent examples of department heads, tackling head-on, the problems we face utilizing the resources the taxpayers provide. But they can only do so much.
As a result, the citizens and businesses of Saint Joseph are dealing with astronomical sewer bills, Police Chief Connally is constantly dealing with the mess and Fire Chief Dalsing is literally putting out the fires.
To add insult to injury, Clint Thompson, head of Planning and Community Development, along with Andy Clements, head of Public Works and Transportation – department heads who play a major role in whether our city resources are directed to address blight and employment problems or raise sewer bills and court casinos – do not live in Saint Joseph; they do not even live in Buchanan County. And Mr. Woody is okay with that.
A study is not required to know that, if Affinity Gaming wanted to relocate downtown, they certainly would have done so by now. And they certainly could have acquired the Red Lion on their own – likely on the cheap. At least that’s what the hotel’s new owners, Inner Circle Investments’ strategy statement suggests, “…we are able to buy properties at deep discounts, often as little as 20 cents on the dollar.”
Tuning Fork disagrees with the status quo. It is this paper’s position that those who live in a community should direct the progress of the community.
- It is not acceptable for department’s heads to insulate themselves in other communities and counties from the decisions they make for the citizens of Saint Joseph.
- It is not acceptable to keep funding outside consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars for redundant studies when economic engines, involving local private and public partnership, are already on the table. “Shovel-ready” proposals should be undertaken by developers, and at the developers’ expense, rather than on the taxpayers’ dime.
- It is not acceptable to ignore blight and code enforcement while enjoying the quiet life in rural Andrew and Clinton counties, and leave it up to police and firefighters to answer the late-night calls.
- It is not acceptable to harness the taxpayers with another fifteen years of mid-twentieth century transit technology and administration while a revolution in transportation is well underway.
- Finally, it is not acceptable to put the City Manager’s raise on the Council’s consent agenda – but Mr. Woody is okay with that.