I’m aghast at the Council’s handling of Muni as they very clearly shun the public interest in favor of … I have no idea.
For a sense of how little the public interest matters, here is a takeaway from today’s Gazette article:
In voting for the contract in November, Alderwoman Kim Brumley, C-3rd Ward, said her reasons involved Merendo’s qualities as a pro, regardless of the contract.
Apparently the language of the contract is irrelevant. And herein lies the problem.
Whether deliberate or happenstance the council has framed this issue as a referendum on the pro, Mr. Merendo. So in the supporters minds, the vote is merely an up or down vote on the pro; nothing more.
But there is more– the public interest in Muni. I’ll state yet again that Muni remains a key asset for the city and as such must be well managed and operated as a public asset. I’d like to gently remind the council that the course is a public asset and it’s their obligation to protect the public interest in the course. Nothing more.
For a matter of record, I do not have any basis with which to form an opinion of Mr. Merendo’s performance nor do I believe this issue should have been framed by the council as a referendum on his performance. Instead I believe the effective governance and oversight of the golf course require proper management, financials and public accountability. It looks like the council has abandoned the very principles with which it is elected to uphold.
So who cares about the wording in contracts? I think we should.
We should care when executive and legislative oversight is passed to a non-elected advisory council. We should care when open-ended clauses get signed into contracts. We should care when council members don’t care about protecting the public interest. In this case, the public interest rests with preserving the viability and transparency– financially, aesthetically, operationally– of Muni. I’m afraid the council has broken its pledge to the public to do so.