Tough decisions

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last night, the Nevada City Council OK'd the purchase of a new truck for the code enforcement officer for $12,000 -- a purchase that had been made prior to council approval. Interim City Manager Harlan Moore said that $12,000 had been budgeted for such a vehicle and the city had found a vehicle for that price and because the vehicle might have been sold to someone else while waiting for council approval, he, with the blessing of Mayor Mike Hutchens, had purchased it.

Not many would agree that having an item budgeted would constitute council approval, and the move still stretched boundaries and put the public trust at risk, but council members apparently found the purchase in the best interest of the city, despite concerns voiced over the sequence of events. Although a bitter taste lingers after swallowing such a reality, it was in the best interest of the city to keep the truck. The $12,000 price tag for the Chevy Colorado is a bargain, and a new vehicle was badly needed.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the purchase, a lucky stroke for city staffers. It's not so long ago that city staffers were called to task for far less blatant purchasing irregularities.

It appeared a tough decision for some council members, who sat stiffly in chair and were slow to speak, but ultimately they made the choice at least one of them felt was, in fact, in the best interest of the city. Councilman Tim Wells noted that it "might have been wiser to wait" until the council could evaluate the purchase, but felt it was a good purchase for the city.

Apparently the others agreed but chose not to comment from the dais.

It's a tough job, serving on the city council, weighing what's best for the city against other issues that crop up in an imperfect world.

We hope that in the future, the preference they indicated for doing things by the book will be one that staffers and elected officials both strictly heed.

If they do, trust will have plenty of room to grow.

-- Nevada Daily Mail