Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lewis Drove Autonomy Theme for COSADC

Development Chief Shawn Lewis drove the agenda for the joint meeting between San Angelo City Council and COSADC, the City's development corporation.  COSADC's November 14 agenda had this for item 16:

Discussion and possible action regarding the proposed Joint Session with Council and the COSADC Board (presentation by Shawn Lewis, Director of Community & Economic Development)

The agenda packet for that meeting offered:

A review of COSADC proposed bylaws changes to achieve the following:
     a. Gain Council approval for all items approved in the annual                      budget document
     b. Gain Council approval for all actions—excepting contracts and
          incentive grant agreements—that are contained within                      a planning document approved by COSADC.

Shawn's clearly sought a wide range of autonomy, although he left before achieving his goal.  Lewis left before Christmas to join former City Manager Harold Dominguez in Longmont, Colorado.

The joint meeting occurred on January 22, 2013.  Shawn effectively setup his development board with draft bylaw language effecting the above strategy.  City Council did a nice job of listening and bringing everyone toward something they could support, streamlining while Council remained accountable for spending taxpayer money.

Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer asked "Why" this request and "Why now?"  One board member cited "the former director" as the driver of autonomy.

Councilman Johnny Silvas pointed to a former abuse of "autonomy" in the purchase of over $100,000 in furniture without required approvals.  Four players in that move are no longer employed by the city.  Two found new jobs before the debacle broke and two resigned, apparently as a direct result of the Furniture Fiasco.

Oddly, the man who couldn't corral this layer as Interim City Manager was promoted to Assistant City Manager/CFO. Adding to the oddity, the November Development Corporation packet included almost $50,000 in unbudgeted items Lewis wanted to purchase.

Note:  Some of these are capital items that Lewis proposed buying with operational savings.  This brings to mind the strange website update/proposal that, when explained, tried to mix capital and operating money.  That presentation was put off.

Apparently, COSADC did not act on Shawn's proposed tradeoff.  Furniture was on the COSADC agenda for 1-23-13.  It will be interesting to see how council reacts to the next furniture proposal presented to them.   Will Wilde and Shawn Lewis left a wake. 

No comments: