by: Diane Benjamin
I’ve previously reported that Mayor Tari Renner formerly worked for the International City Managers Association. (https://blnnews.com/2014/01/22/bloomington-your-land-is-at-risk/) His time there says a lot about the changes happening in Bloomington. Renner’s name is connected to many studies that analyze local government types. One of my many sources sent links to a lot of websites, below is one:
Renner, Tari and Victor S. DeSantis. “Municipal Form of Government: Issues and Trends.” In The Municipal Year Book, 1998. Washington, DC: International City/County Management Association, 1998.
It’s becoming obvious that Mayor Renner is leading Bloomington into a closer relationship with this International organization. The mayor is a political scientist, so coupling that with his background, it’s easy to see why he believes everything requires an investigation. Studies compare member cities around the county and the globe, then issue reports. A lot of local city employee man-hours have already been spent completing surveys for ICMA so the feedback can begin.
Yesterday I spoke with a citizen of Bloomington who wanted to hear more. First, I told him that nothing has been said about how much working with ICMA is going to cost. The video of the Council meeting on January 21st had a presenter who talked about the large amount of man-hours already put into the project. Here is the information given to the alderman: http://cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6203 Start on page 14. From the presentation:
My problem with this group is: WHY does Bloomington need an International organization to evaluate city services? Why should taxpayers pay them to compare what Bloomington does with other cities around the country or the world?
Is local government not capable of determining if police and fire departments respond fast enough? City employees can’t tell if the roads are good or the parks and recreation offerings are what the city needs?
What happens if this International group finds Bloomington lacking? These reports evidently go to other members of the performance management project, so Bloomington wouldn’t want to look bad by comparison. That means investing more taxpayer dollars to fix the deficiencies in the reports whether the citizens think services are deficient or not.
Mayor Renner’s governing philosophies of governing are exactly opposite of mine. I believe local government should be limited in scope and only do what citizens are incapable of doing for themselves. Bloomington went way past that when the Coliseum was built against the wishes of the citizens. History can’t be re-written, but the future is left to write.
Citizens need to decide if governing by comparison to other cities is where Bloomington needs to be or if local city employees should be trusted to make decisions in the best interests of the population. I thought that was why they are part of the staff.