Lack of accountability is hurting the city

Sunday, April 24, 2022

I am writing this letter on the heels of a regular city council meeting that I attended Tuesday, April 19th.

As I read the agenda, listened to public comment, and observed the council’s responses (or lack thereof) one thing became increasingly obvious to me as the night wore on; the dire lack of accountability that is crippling our city. Every issue that the public had comment on (nuisance hearing, dispatch crisis, and Lloyd square park court) was avoidable if someone had either been held accountable or held themselves accountable.

Why have neighbors had to fight for SEVEN years to get a residence cleaned up; debris, junk cars, rubble have been a constant eyesore. Are our ordinances so weak that we must settle for this and come to expect it? Or are we simply not holding people accountable?

Why is our dispatch center in such a state of (staffing) crisis that outsourcing it to Miles City seemed like a good, viable option for some?

Departmental deterioration like that doesn’t happen overnight. Breakdown in a department that is vital to our people’s safety and wellbeing should have been addressed by leadership before the dispatchers were sending an SOS.

Public comment provided an opportunity to possibly shed some light on several issues that have affected staff retention and contributed to the situation.

Until those underlying issues are addressed, by holding someone accountable, we should not expect long-term resolution.

The Lloyd Square Park basketball court is project that should have been simple; it has been mismanaged in so many ways I’ve lost count. From extremely delayed timelines to exceeding the budget, a year later we still have nothing to show for it. My concern has shifted from a personal interest to frustration as a resident/taxpayer. Our city accepted a bid of $41,240 for the concrete slab for the court. This does not include backboards/hoops, lines, etc. The dimensions of the court are equivalent to a regulations size high school court with a 2’ perimeter. I’ve asked multiple times who made this decision and why, as it is unusual to find that size of a court in a small-town park. It feels excessive to invest that kind of money on one venue when there are park improvements needed all over town. Last I heard, no baskets/hoops had been ordered yet, even though it was on record for the court to be done this month or sooner (weather dependent). Nobody has been held accountable throughout the entire process.

I challenge our city government to step up. Niceties, sugar-coating, blindeyes, and sweeping things under the rug is getting us nowhere. We need accountability and we need it now.

Jamie McMillan