Cleaning up Paso Robles from the inside
March 16, 2012
OPINION By MAYORAL CANDIDATE GARY NEMETH
I have been asked what it takes to make the changes necessary to bring back the community we all remember. I have found that difficult situations such as what we have been going through often bring out qualities in all of us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one another.
As a Mayor and leader the following are what I believe are prerequisites: character, candor, conviction and honesty.
Whatever this council decides to do is too little and too late. Any action taken now is strictly taken to protect their reelection and shaky reputation.
In considering my option for mayor I looked at first starting to make changes from the top, the community must regain their trust and confidence in the mayor and council. That will not happen with the current council and top management in place.
The community must elect a mayor that the community respects, has trust and confidence in. The community must know that the mayor has no hidden agenda, has only the best interest of every person in Paso in mind regarding all decisions made.
As I consider the office of mayor, I will provide careful deliberation and decisive action doing my best not to add to the fiscal crisis we already face. It is time for real leadership, progress and accountability; which is what this council lacks. What I sadly discovered is that some city staff has too much influence and power over the decisions that the council should be making as elected representatives of the people of Paso Robles.
Leaders who are elected to lead should do just that, lead, not be told what to do by those that work for them. How many times do we need to hear, “let’s do a study,” “we have no money,” “wait till after the election” or “just wait, wait, wait,” then they vote to spend money elsewhere. After hearing the excuses so many times the council hopes you will give up and go away.
Once the mayor and two effective council persons are in place, then to start with a change in city manager and city attorney can be made. The city manager for so many reasons, the emails between Chief Lisa Solomon and Manager Jim App destroy any trust/confidence in the relationship between the employees, management and council, and if this is how they feel /treat those that work for them what do they think of the citizens?
The alleged intimidation of city employees, micro managing their every move, alleged attitude towards the public and applicants. The $1.4 million unfunded liabilities in vacation leave that has been run up according to the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury. The city manager is not a dictator, and is intended to work for the council not the other way around. The job description needs to be redone, absolute power corrupts absolutely and that will change.
How can we trust a city attorney that allegedly states the wrong numbers were due to: (1) computer system error, (2) the State DOJ had it wrong, or (3) human error starting in 2002?
Nowhere does Attorney Iris Yang attribute any blame to those responsible for filling out the forms, or making sure they are correct prior to submission to the city manager, city council, DOJ or the media. Excuse after excuse? Did the city attorney provide advice about the emails to Solomon, App and council regarding negotiations?
Chief Solomon and the alleged problems are too numerous to list. Why has the council waited so long to act or speak out on any of the problems or provide support to the community? Personnel rules that have not been updated since 1998, who is kidding who: we as a community cannot allow this to continue.
As mayor, I would start here making these recommendations for changes keeping the community aware of the progress. This would only be a start, the first step in rebuilding the trust and confidence in the position of mayor and the city; I believe we have lost that trust/confidence in our elected leaders over the past years and with your help I intend to bring it back.