Common Council Entrance Exam

For those considering running for any of the Common Council seats in the upcoming election, you can find out if you have what it takes by answering the following question. (The answer is below)
Question: Your fiduciary role as a member of the Common Council includes financial management and oversight of a $27 million municipal budget. You are asked to prioritize your legislative agenda around the following issues. Please rank the issues from least to greatest priority in terms of your legislative agenda in terms of time and resources. 
Issue 1: The Mayor’s automobile with an asset value of $900.
Issue 2: The purchase of 100 automobiles for the mayor with an asset value of $90,000
Issue 3: The purchase of 1000 automobiles for the mayor with an asset value of $900,000.
Issue 4: The power purchase contract with a contract value of $14 million.
Answer Key: 4,3,2,1
Explanation: Clearly, an automobile with an asset value of $900 has the highest priority. As #4 is likely the most complex issue and least prone to demagoguing, that should be ranked lowest priority in terms of legislative priority even though it involves millions of dollars.
Congratulations if you scored correctly. If you selected #4 as highest priority, local elected office is not for you.

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8 Responses

  1. This makes one wonder ….
    The Common Council is filled with people who promised fiscal accountability and “looking out for the taxpayers.” They vow that the city can’t spend any money because no one knows how much money the city actually has.
    So … they’re actually going to consider an idea to let the mayor use her own car and get reimbursed for the mileage, an idea that will wind up costing the city MORE money and one where there is NO money budgeted for the expense, which is the opposite of responsible fiscal planning.
    At some point, a guy’s going to jump from behind a camera and inform the city it just got “punk’d.”

    • Rob Millan says:

      The mayor would have to drive just business 1607 miles in a year before she would be reimbursed more money than what the city car is worth. Factor countless trips for NYCOM and to Utica. And that’s not including anything else she does for the car while on those trips, like gas. You’re talking a few grand a year that the city will need to reimburse her for.

  2. Paulo says:

    The Value of the vehicle is insignificant, the cost to operate and the liability issues involved in its use are and should be a major concern. An example is if someone took a CITY vehicle to do their personal grocery shopping and had a passenger in it and was at fault in an accident that involved other people and all were injured look at the liability the CITY would be in since it was a CITY vehicle.

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      The liability argument lacks credibility. First, the liability to the city is limited due to the liability coverage via insurance. Second, ANY public vehicle involved in an at-fault accident subjects the city to risk in a lawsuit. The mayor’s car changes the overall liability risk marginally at best. Third, the liability argument is a distraction from the real business of managing the city’s financial health as shown by the Council spending more time with a $900 vehicle versus due diligence on a $14 million power sharing contract.

    • The car only became a “major concern” when the current mayor took office. Plenty of mayors have driven around in city vehicles, didn’t leave them at City Hall after-hours, and it was never an issue before now.
      It’s also a local election year, meaning all the focus will be on these trivial and stupid radar blips instead of focusing on real issues.

  3. Bill says:

    The “what if” accident scenario the Mayor’s critics cling to is a crock…and,sadly, their only argument. Pretty lame if you ask me. It’s further evidence of their inability to see any big picture. One would have to surmise that there is no hope for progress in the city until the people wake up, wipe out the entire council and fill it with a new group of bold, forward-thinking people ready to take the city out of park.

    • Rob Millan says:

      …and is no different from APD (or any police department for that matter) transporting people in their cars to and from the police station. Liability and lawsuits against the city don’t stop at the mayor’s car. (reference the suit against the county, sheriff, etc., of the estate of a prisoner killed in transport).

  4. Gina DeRossi says:

    Ah see that is why I had to get out of office. I didn’t realize the car was the top priority. I was more on the #4 side. More proof why public office is not for me lol

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