Once again the Gazette has received a flaming letter from Bob Stroh, replete with the usual falsehoods, inaccuracies, and slurs. Again he wishes to visit his indictment of Councilman (and former Mayor) Steve Conaway for the trip Conaway took to Washington D.C. for the purpose of making a presentation at the US Conference of Mayors.

This is a bogus issue which has been exposed as such and addressed several times before. I cannot permit Mr. Stroh to monopolize the opinion page every week with witless opinions designed to fool the public. Therefore, I have deleted most of this most recent of his redundantly witless letters.

But I can already hear the whimpers and sobs from that handful of determined Katzenjammers who think this is somehow unfair, and a dark plot to keep them from expressing their opinions.

Next week, however, I will respond to Mr. Stroh’s accusations, provide a final, definitive explanation of Mr. Conaway’s trip, and explain to our readers what exactly the new city council has done, and intends to do, with our city government. At that time I will publish Mr. Stroh’s letter in full – and for the last time on this subject. I am truly tired of arguing with the emotional nitwits responsible for furthering the new city regime’s agenda.

For those of our readers who really want evidence of the abysmal incompetence of our newest councilmembers, Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks, I urge you to view the Channel 10 video of last week’s council meeting (6:30 p.m.). It’s bad enough to be found incompetent, but to be repeatedly unprepared for council meetings (Jamey Brooks), incapable of understanding the agenda (Gayle Washburn), or (habitually) incapable of preparing staff reports for council consideration (Bill Bartels) is a tragedy for city taxpayers. But there seems to be no shortage of giggling and laughter on the dais between Brooks, Washburn, and Walker, or lengthy closed-door meetings.

Former Finance Director Barbara Smith (23 years at city hall – before leaving because “That gentleman (Bill Bartels) does not know what he is doing”) left a balanced preliminary draft budget. Even with the numbers ready to go Mr. Bartels is unable to produce a timely city budget – maybe for the first time ever. In my interview with Ms. Smith, she expressed extreme frustration over Mr. Bartels refusal to meet, answer her telephone calls, messages, emails, and written requests. He simply refused to communicate, even though he knew Ms. Smith was about to leave office. How can this disrespect and lack of common sense be explained?

On four recent occasions the council has been asked to make decisions though staff, under Assistant City Manager Bartels, had not prepared reports – despite a recent 10 percent pay raise, promotion to Assistant City Manager, and an assistant to help him do his job. I don’t know to what extent our new temporary city manager assists in the day-to-day work load. We now also have a temporary Finance Director, but still no budget. Budgets can always be amended, why the delay?

These are a few of the problems which goad me to public revelation. The new majority on the council has succeeded in deconstructing city hall. In my opinion we are now, and have been for several months, in free-fall.
This is what I hope to explore next week.