Why does any City need a City Manager?

by:  Diane Benjamin

Shouldn’t elected officials be in charge of City business?  Why does a City Manager get to write the agenda for Council meetings and then hand a packet to the elected representatives a few days before the meeting – often with 400-500 pages?  Then, items without any previous discussion, are supposed to be voted on.

Here’s what Rob Fazzini thinks (from his monthly newsletter):

The first controversial item was the petition to grant a special use permit for multiple family swelling of property located at Ekstam Drive was recommended by city staff and by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) at each of its last two meetings.  The petition was denied in a 6 to 3 vote with aldermen Fruin and Lower voting with me to support this economic development petition that was recommended by both city staff and the ZBA.  My vote was based on the economic development aspect and to support the city staff and ZBA because if we do not trust these bodies charged with the responsibilities assigned to them, then we should replace them.

Fazzini’s attitude tells why the majority of the Council “Rubber Stamps” whatever is brought before them.  If the recommendation is YES, then I’m a Yes.  (no brain required that way).  The citizens should just elect robots to represent them, not thinking people.  This zoning issue is one of the rare items that failed.

This logic explains why groups around town support certain candidates to be on the Councils, like the Economic Develop Council and the Chamber of Commerce.  If your government philosophy is to approve whatever is before you, you get their support because they have already worked out the details with the City Manager.  It also explains why anybody who thinks for themselves on the council, like Judy Stearns, are attacked.  If you have a brain of your own, you aren’t welcome.

Here’s a news flash for you Rob (and the rest of the Council):  Government employees aren’t interested in solving problems.  If all the roads were fixed, pensions were funded, the parks were beautiful, etc, etc,  they would be out of a job!  Their purpose is ALWAYS agenda driven – THEIR agenda.  Unfortunately nobody knows what that is until they get the job.  If the truth was told, the voters wouldn’t vote for them and the City Manager would never be hired.  The most used phrase is “We have to make progress”.  Progress to what?  They never have an answer for that one.

Want proof?  The City Manager makes the budget.  Are pensions funded?  No.  Has enough money been allocated under Hales to streets?  No.  Does the Coliseum show a profit?  No.  Does the BCPA come anywhere near making money? NO.  What exactly does work?  The financial statements were issued very late.  What does that tell you?

Here’s some of the latest things David Hales has been working on:

Hales hired Carol Struck as interim director of the BCPA, even though she lives in Arizona and will be paid an additional $150 every day she is in town.

Hales wants to LICENSE every business in Bloomington.

Hales was the first to refuse a chauffeurs license for Julie Crowe.  She should have asked for large monetary damages, but she is too honorable.

The City had a buyer for a building on the west side, but somehow it got voted to be destroyed.  I’m still looking for information on that one.  Since the building wasn’t being used, why did Hales not want to sell it?

How many of these say Hales is working for the benefit of citizens?

Bloomington already had a long-time self appointed king, Tom Hamilton.  I hear that some former City employees had to sign an agreement saying they AND their entire family are NEVER allowed to speak about the City or get involved in City elections.  They were threatened with losing their pensions if they did.  Although probably unconstitutional, they are still too afraid to fight back.

Under Hamilton, the citizens were forced to pay for the Coliseum they didn’t want and the BCPA.  Then, Hamilton gave himself a sweet retirement deal.  Since Hales just got a huge raise, he is probably setting up the same.  Here’s the Hamilton deal:



How can anybody believe, given these facts, that a City Manager has the best interests of citizens at heart?

City Managers are just looking to accumulate pensions while molding the cities into something they believe is best.

Freedom and low taxes be damned!

How about ditching the City Manager form of government and putting elected officials back in charge!  Evidently it is difficult to fire a City Manager, especially when some of the elected alderman drool at his feet and won’t release minutes from executive sessions that would prove malfeasance.

Bloomington isn’t unique.  Normal is the same, but the alderman seats are stacked.  The chances of an average citizens getting elected are virtually non-existent.  Wards don’t exist, every person is “at large”.  The status quo is much easier to maintain that way.








One thought on “Why does any City need a City Manager?

  1. I believed when David Hale first took the job of Bloomington City Manager, that he would clean up the mess that Tom Hamilton created. Yes we got railroaded (forced along with Ex Mayor Judy Markovitz) accepting the Coliseum, knowing it never make a profit, in a 2-1 final approval by Bloomington Voters, in a straw vote. Final Question” Will David Hale decide to tear down FireStation # 5 that sits vacant on Six Point Road instead of maybe selling it ? ” Yes the Rubber Stamp Five is alive and well” until everyone can stand on their own 2 feet and do their own thinking, things will not change!!
    Bill Dodson

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