Sunday, May 17, 2009

Will the majority of the Council be a rubber stamp for the Mayor?

There has been plenty of blog comments on Esslinger's actions with regard to refusing to reappoint long serving members of the Parks Board and Plan Commission.  

I'd like this thread to focus on what you think the rest of the council will do... see NW editorial.  We can be pretty sure McHugh will side with Esslinger and I'd be surprised if Palmeri didn't vote with Esslinger too...those three seem to be a pretty tight "voting block".  I'm hopeful that King and Tower will not support the mayor in his "power grab" so that leaves Poeschl as the "swing vote" will he do the right thing and refuse to approve Esslinger's appointments or will he once again take direction from Palmeri and vote the same?  This vote could give us some insight as to how the vote to replace a council member will go.  I wouldn't be the farm on Poeschl but I do hold out hope he will do the right thing and reject Esslinger's power grab appointments.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Schneider Seems to "get it" Lemberger... Not So Much

Finished watching the board meeting.  Well the intellectual lights just weren't shining that bright tonight.  

Schneider seemed to understand the situation the board was in but wasn't really able to explain it so Lemberger understood.  Let me try a little more bluntly than Schneider:

For every dollar you take OFF the table (middle school re-alignment, media staffing, start times, etc.) you have to find somewhere else to cut.  Since Administration has brought forward the plan they think is best, it is up to you  Lemberger to suggest alternative areas to cut.  That certainly didn't happen tonight.  

Oh and by the way you can't cut $120,000 out of the budget and then find alternative funding and then count that cut again... it is still only $120,000 cut not $240,000  (I thought Math and Science went together???)

So how long do you think the next meeting will last?  Do you think by the end of the meeting the BOE will have $2.2M in cuts approved?  

Here's a Topic: Budget Reconciliation

I'm disappointed that there are no materials (that I can find) posted on the District's website or in the NW regarding the topics that will be discussed at the Special School Board Meeting tonight.  It was obvious at the last meeting that there were not 4 votes (on the new board) for the Administrations plan.  I for one would like to know what the alternative plan(s) for cutting ~ $2M is.  

This link to the NW provides information on the original proposal.  What do you agree with, disagree with and if you disagree with a portion, where in the budget would you cut to make up the dollars?

Keep personalities out of it please, I don't want to have to shut this down when I've barely begun!

Friday, May 1, 2009

School Board Elections

Well the next year should be an interesting one for the school board. Schneider is president and Lemberger is VP. Anyone surprised Becker isn't VP? As loyal as Becker has always been to Schneider and given his years of experience vs. Lemberger's I was surprised it was Lemberger who ended up VP.

I have to wonder if this is the beginning of a long alliance or a one vote aberration. Philosophically does Lemberger really line up with Becker and Schneider? Is Monte a wild card or will she fall in line with those 2 like a good little girl? This has the makings of a good Soap Opera.

How much of his agenda will Schneider be able to accomplish? He seems to have the votes to get his way but, will it be as easy as he thinks? The fact is there appears no end in sight to the budget cuts year after year and let's not forget the promises to ADD dollars to maintenance. Where exactly will the cuts come from? It seems that the Schneider, Monte, Becker trifecta has already put a number of things off limits: no teacher cuts, no program cuts, no maintenance cuts. So where will the cuts come from? From past comments it appears the targets will be staff salary/benefit packages and administrator positions...will that be enough?

I'll be watching things closely. Let us know what you think...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oshkosh's Future

I found the election results rather disappointing but time will tell if the change was "good for Oshkosh".  

Why is the common council waiting to fill Esslinger's seat?  We just had an election, seems to me it is perfectly logical to appoint the 4th place finisher.  How it could possibly be seen as "more democratic" for the 6 council members to hand pick the 7th member is beyond me.  Isn't that why we went to an elected mayor, because we didn't want the council members deciding who the mayor would be?  Why is it suddenly OK to disregard the people's wishes and interview and select a councilor rather than appoint the next highest vote getter?  Seems to me it flies in the face of democracy.

Next, will this council make changes so that ANY sitting councilor loses their seat when running for mayor and would only be on the council if elected mayor?  It seems wrong to only penalize 1/2 the council if they would choose to run for mayor and we really don't want to be appointing a councilor to a seat every 2 years.  I'm not holding my breath that the council will even consider fixing this problem, but they should.  

I will be watching carefully to see if the new mayor is able to keep any of his promises to taxpayers and if not what the excuses/reasons are.  At the end of 2 years, will a majority, half, a quarter, any more than last year,  of our streets be fixed?  Will there be any new development or will developers find the Oshkosh Common Council to be unfriendly?  Will anyone care?  Will our streets still flood 5 years from now?  Will all areas missing sidewalks have them in the next two years???

I'm not optimistic, but I am willing to watch with an open mind to see what kinds of decisions this new council makes.