Friday, May 15, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Emerald City is Technically Broke

Spotlight on John Patterson's 5/14/09 "sequestered funds" gaffe: Sometimes even the most loyal and devoted key insiders will occasionally slip up and tell the truth

Fascinating Scott Schwebke followup story this morning on the Marshall White Center funding dilemma, which was the topic of yesterday's WCF article. After years of reckless administration borrowing and spending, Emerald City appears to be perched on the brink of technical insolvency. City revenue is tight for a city that's compelled to make an annual $3/4 million bond payment for an ill-conceived downtown money pit, and Godfrey asserts we're down to making some hard budgetary choices. We incorporate Mr. Schwebke's lead paragraphs below:
OGDEN -- About $350,000 would have to be trimmed from city operations to cover costs for the Marshall White Community Center if the municipality doesn't turn the facility over to Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Matthew Godfrey said Thursday night.
Godfrey discussed during a city council work session the rational for eliminating funding from his proposed 2010 fiscal budget for the Marshall White Center.
As the budget was being finalized, negotiations with OWCAP for a possible take over of the center were continuing smoothly, said Godfrey. As a result, it was decided no money would be included in the budget for the Marshall White Center which would lessen the amount of severe funding cuts for other departments, he said.
It appears to us that the entire MWC operation may find itself on the chopping block unless one of the following happens:

1) The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) nonprofit (or some other white knight) quickly comes to the rescue and assumes financial responsibility for future MWC operations;

2) The Council sends Godfrey back to his throne room on nine, instructing him to cut a further $350 thousand from his administrative budget.

If we were sitting on the Ogden City Council, we'd be strongly urging our council colleagues to adopt Plan 2. This is what the state legislature did (twice) to Governor Huntsman during the last legislative session, leading to a balanced fiscal year 2010 state budget; and we believe the city council should follow suit. What the heck. Godfrey could close the budget gap by canning three or four of his bloated and overpaid Economic Develpment Department "A" team, and nobody would notice the difference. None of them are doing anything useful these days anyway, it seems to us.

And here is by far the most interesting and revealing paragraph in this morning's Scott Schwebke's morning writeup, wethinks:
Godfrey also said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer, mispoke earlier this week when he told the Standard-Examiner that funds eliminated for the Marshall White Center were in a reserve account and could be restored if a deal with OWCAP fell through. In order for the city to fund the Marshall White Center money would have to be cut from other city operations, he said.
Dang rights Mr. Patterson misspoke. Neither the Council nor the public are supposed to know about "sequestered funds" or secret administration slush fund accounts. Patterson definitely put his foot in his mouth this time, much to Boss Godfrey's obvious annoyance. But assuming for speculation's sake that Patterson spoke the truth, and that such a slush fund may indeed exist, we wonder how many dollars Boss Godfrey may actually have squirreled away? Perhaps the Council should call in Ogden City Controller John Arrington to find out. The council could have him testify under oath.

Mr. Patterson's inadvertent gaffe of course illustrates the primary problem for an administration like Godfrey's, which routinely operates by stealth, secrecy and deceit. Government secrets are difficult to keep, even under the most favorable circumstances. Sometimes even the most loyal and devoted key insiders like Godfrey henchman John Patterson will occasionally slip up and inadvertanly tell the truth.

The floor is open O Gentle Ones. The world blogosphere eagerly awaits your ever-savvy comments.


Curmudgeon said...

More evidence of the complete disarray at the top of the Godfrey administration [as if we needed more]. Yesterday, the Mayor's chief executive officer, Mr. Patterson, told the SE the money for the Marshall White Center had been set aside in a kind of escrow account, and it would be automatically returned to the budget if an operating agreement with an NGO could not be reached. Today, the Mayor told the SE that Mr. Patterson... well, that he didn't know what the hell he was talking about. The Marshall White funds had not been set aside. They're gone, not in the budget, not in escrow. Gone.

Question: if the mayor's chief aide doesn't know what the Mayor's up to, who does? Is anybody up there minding the store?

summers eve said...

Godfrey is a heartless little weiner.

summers eve said...

John Arrington cant find a slush fund, unless he wants to loose his job.

David S. said...

If memory serves, the amount to keep Marshall White open is less than what Godfrey spent on the sandstone cubes in front of the Salomon Center.

So a facility that provides recreation for inner city kids is less important than sandstone cubes, at least to Godfrey.

Make no mistake, without the Marshall White subsidy, this public facility will ultimately become radically different, or close altogether.

City council, please take full charge of the budget. Godfrey has beamed up to the mother ship.

Bill C. said...

Now would be a great time to find out where all the Fleet dept. and Richard Brookens hide the money they cannibalize from every other City department winds up.
You may recall the secret Udot stash that came up after the dining car fiasco surficed. They charge other dept.$75. an hr. for each person's labor to perform such critically technical tasks as hang pictures and picking up vehicles with a trailer. If they send 2 people and takes 15 minutes they charge that department $150.
A complete audit and evaluation needs to be done by the Council to determine if the way lying little matty operates it is in the best interest of the City, and where all the money goes.

The Boss said...

Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores ..

Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more ..

They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks ..

Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back ..

To your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown

Stevie Ray said...

Do you still come downtown?

Does Greiner know said...

Interesting report on Ogden Weber Towing Association and police "collaboration":

I think this one makes more sense if you watch the 5 minute clip than if you just read it. My favorite quote comes at the end--the system "saves the taxpayers money."

blackrulon said...

MATTHEW GODFREY MUST RESIGN After nearly 10 years the question must be asked. Is Ogden city better or worse after years of Matthew Godfrey? City revenues falls, residential and commercial vacancies increase. Area that were previously vibrant neighborhoods are rundown or abandoned. Projects are awarded to investors that have no financial ability to complete. The few completed projects require massive amounts of city subsidies to remain viable. Tje parts of the city that make it attractive are neglected or disparaged and belittled. City money is not accounted for properly. Unethical and possibly illegal activities are miracously cured wittthout any investigation. Enough. RESIGN MAYOR GODFREY.

The Lovely Jennifer said...

It would take a team of miniature ponies (at least) or fainting goats to pull him from his lair!

Remember, he has the highest level of integrity of anyone in the room, blah blah blah ...


Cowboy said...

Do you think Jo Packham's brightly painted fiberglass horses would do the job?

mayor horsesass said...

Who needs MWC when you can do glow-in-the-dark miniature golf in the jackass center?

googlegirl said...

Here's how the City of Stracuse solved their budget shortfall:

With a strained budget, Syracuse leaders cut own wages

Monotreme said...

Comment moved to new article thread

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved to new article thread

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