At last Tuesday’s city council meeting where the proposed City budget was examined and rejected by the council there was a point during public comments where one citizen stood up to speak in support of Mr. Warne’s submission.
During her comments she read from an award that Mr. Warne had placed in the this year’s proposed budget. That award was from the Government Finance Officers Association for his budget of the previous year.
After her comments I raised my hand to gain the attention of John Cole but he apparently was not very happy with me and said “You have said enough tonight Sir!” Well, I spoke my piece anyway. I pointed out that Mike Tree our previous city manager had also obtained the same award for his budgets that were less then 100 pages.
The following day I was talking to my wife about this award business and she then decided to see exactly what it took to get one of these awards.
Well, if a city submits enough copies of their budget and some money guess what you can get? You can get an award for budget excellence. Now that same award can be provided for a 420 page coffee table book as the Desert Trail described it or you can get that award for a less than 100 pages of budget information.
Here is a portion of the application form:
“Please check the appropriate fee category and send the payment at the same time as your submission. (Remit all fees in U.S. dollars)
Total expenditures/expenses GFOA member* Nonmember
Under $10 million $185 $370
$10-25 million $280 $560 …”
I just wonder how much Mr. Warne and Mr Tree paid for this award? I would imagine that our city is a member of this organization so we were able to obtain the discounted award price of $280.
I have been fortunate in my life to have been the subject of several awards. Be it from my days in high school, the Catholic Youth Organization, the Marine Corps, the Sheriff’s Department, as well as our own City and County there have been awards.
The common denominator of those awards during my life has been I did not have to pay money to get them.
This business of buying an award via an “application fee” somehow in my mind cheapens the award. Almost like those people that buy military medals and then seek special treatment because they are heroes. Oh wait, we have that “Stolen Valor Act” in California that makes that conduct illegal thanks to Paul Cook.
Maybe we should also have our own law that prevents a city manager from publishing an award that he bought for a prior years budget in order to somehow make us think that his current years proposed budget is another award winning piece of work.