“The Allen City Commission has spent more than a month trying to determine whether the city hired a paving company without approval.”
It’s hard to believe — and deeply troubling – that this newspaper had to print a sentence like that in a story about a local government body.
The taxpayers of Allen deserve more than this lack of accountability.
Government officials pledge to uphold the laws of this state and they pledge to do their best to carry out the duties of their elected office.
We expect them to spend money wisely and to account for every dime that is spent.
If it takes the officials of any city more than a month to determine whether they voted or didn’t vote to spend around $30,000 to pave streets, then what does that say about other accountability measures this city should be taking?
If you recall, this round of funding marked the first time Allen received municipal road aid in at least a decade, because the state withheld the funds after the city failed to submit its financial reports, as required, for years.
The city spent this funding after tossing out a completely legitimate bid, claiming it was not legitimate, and accepting an invoice as a “bid” from the company that did the work—with that invoice being dated four days after the commission tossed out the other bid and voted to hire this one instead.
Months later, the commission talked about hiring the company again, but took no action, no vote, and when Commissioner Eilene Kinzer asked whether the city got more bids the following month, she learned that the work was already done and the company had been paid. In December, she was told officials would find the meeting minutes and call a special meeting, which didn’t happen, and the same thing happened when she brought the topic up again this week.
Kudos to Kinzer for continuing to push for answers about this. We hope she doesn’t stop asking until she hears the answer to her question once and for all.
And kudos to City Attorney Beth Shortridge, who has repeatedly tried to teach the Allen City Commission about its requirements under the law.
On Monday, she talked about the importance of the commission taking actions during public meetings and the requirements for calling a special meeting, among other things that city officials who have served a government body for decades should already know.
They should already know this stuff by heart.
With the latest steps Allen has taken in the wrong direction, it’s nice to see Kinzer’s willingness to ask the same questions repeatedly and Shortridge’s repeated attempts try to educate elected officials who somehow don’t understand these rules and regulations. Those efforts are about the only glimmer of hope Allen has left.
We’ve suggested that Allen officials receive training in the past, and a couple of them, the newest members, have.
This week, we emphatically suggest that all commission members and the mayor undergo the training that the taxpayers of Allen deserve and begin to heed the law and basic ethical standards under which a government body should operate.