Baffling

I’m posting the comment below in full as it’s the City Charter section dealing with the Golf Commission.

Dream Weaver makes a valid counter point to my statement of “We should care when executive and legislative oversight is passed to a non-elected advisory council”.

I accepted the characterization of the Commission as an advisory council based upon the Sunday Recorder Editorial that is mentioned in my prior post here. Based upon the Charter, I do not see where the role of the Commission is advisory but rather it is a strong operational role in the management of the course. Per the Charter, the Council’s role falls under this:

E. The Common Council reserves the authority to enter into agreements for the use of facilities, such as concessions and restaurant, at said golf course.

Given the need for the Council’s approval on the pro contract, I believe the requirement rests under this clause.

As far as my statement of “when executive and legislative oversight is passed to a non-elected advisory council“, I believe my statement still stands given that this contract wrests authority formerly granted to the mayor back to the commission and cedes legislative oversight given the sentiment of approving agreements “regardless of the contract” by the council.

What’s baffling, or better yet most troubling,  to me is that the charter details no oversight requirements, no reporting requirements and no financial requirements for the Commission to the Council or Mayor. I have no financials upon which to comment or analyze so let me present a plausible hypothetical. Let’s say the operations for the course run in the red for the year. Who picks up the tab? If we have large capital projects “looming” (using Mayor Thane’s word), how do we assure the sound management and financing of such initiatives given the lack of oversight and given the laissez-faire approach of the council?

Contracts matter so if the only way to pry into the operations especially the financial operations of the course is via a single clause in a contract, then it should matter that some level of oversight remains in place regardless of how limited it may be. And it is indeed limited.

I appreciate the forward of the Charter and I’m thinking the Charter needs some retooling.

Dream Weaver Says:
December 4, 2008 at 2:24 am e

“We should care when executive and legislative oversight is passed to a non-elected advisory council”

But the Golf Commission is not an advisory council.

From the city charter (see http://ecode360.com/?custId=AM0234):

Section 28-3:

“A. It shall be the duty of the Commission to organize, manage, operate, maintain and govern said golf course and appurtenances.

B. The Commission shall have full authority to manage, maintain and operate said golf course and appurtenances, to establish proper fees for the use of the golf course by players and to do such necessary things and adopt such rules and regulations applying to the use of such golf course as may be necessary for its proper operation, maintenance and protection.

C. All revenues thus received from operation shall be deposited with the Controller of the City of Amsterdam, who shall maintain a separate account of such revenues.

D. Purchases made by the Commission shall be made in like manner as other purchases made by the City of Amsterdam. All money expended incidental to the management, maintenance and operation of the golf course shall be made upon submission of proper vouchers or claims, signed by the Chairman of the Commission, approved by the Director of Recreation and after audit by the Common Council in accordance with the provisions of the City Charter, all such expenditures and all such payments shall be chargeable to and payable from the fund and account maintained by the City Controller for this purpose.

E. The Common Council reserves the authority to enter into agreements for the use of facilities, such as concessions and restaurant, at said golf course.

F. Purchases of capital items shall be done by the Common Council upon recommendation of the Commission and within budgetary appropriations.

G. The consent and approval of the Director of Recreation shall be noted on all appropriations for operational functions prior to any commitment made therefor.”

Note the above under “G” – it could be that the Golf Pro’s contract was not properly before the council or, if it was, approval of the contract may still be needed by the Director of Recreation – who reports to the Mayor.

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