THANK YOU, TAMI PERKINS
As a city council member, she
has been exemplary in the courage shown and the tenacity to stick with the
problem of accountability in city government. Very few people will get out of
their comfort zone and pursue an idea that does not have popular support.
When Tami was approached by several CLS police officers, at first she thought it was complaints that occur in every job. As more officers talked to several council members, it became plain that this was no small problem. At first Tami tried to talk with Mayor Vern Johnson, but he just dismissed her attempt at dialogue and the effort to study the police department.
Council members decided to go the investigation route. Over the last year, there have been some extremely contentious meetings. Residents who attended meetings quickly divided into two camps. Those who supported Paul Shelley focused on his ability to mediate sticky situations and get grant money. Those who wanted the investigations into the police department and city accounting, including credit accounts, wanted transparency in city operations. I think everyone agreed that Paul Shelley is likable. Whether he has been accountable and honest has yet to be answered.
I think there are many residents who did not want to deal with the drama of meetings where so many of the presentations were scripted by one person and read by another. So often the pro-Shelley camp would only look at Paul Shelley's social skills and wanted to ignore police department problems such as the four fired officers, the extravagant spending with city credit cards, and delays in city records.
Tami has led the charge to get investigations. Although she has been damned by many for leading, a reading of the minutes shows that the council has consistently voted for the investigations and audit with 5-0 votes. That's all hands raised to approve the funding.
Residents have received little information and council members have had to fight to get minutes, reports, budget amendments, make contact with the city attorney or get information from the auditor. The only paperwork that was done consistently and on time was paychecks for city employees. No six month delays there.
Tami will finish her service to the city as council member this month. Thank you from all of us who are looking for accountability in city government.
May 10, 2012