Bloomington: Who is hiding what?

by:  Diane Benjamin

It was a dark Council that resumed open session last night after a much longer than scheduled Executive Session (Secret Meeting).  The air was tense, it wasn’t hard to read between the tenacious exchanges what was really happening.  David Hales lovers were playing CYA for him!

I’ve reported before that employee morale is low among the City of Bloomington employees.  Hales blames staff cuts and not having a balance between work and family.  Since 56 employees have left in the last year and half, even the public has started to ask questions.

Side note:  Renner again showed he doesn’t know the law.  See the video at 1:10:30  He forgot the council had to vote to return to Open Session since they voted to go into Executive Session.  Hey, it’s only the law.  What difference does it make?

I’ve reported before the Council has NO input on what is brought before them.  The Mayor and City Manager meet with Council members in small groups to tell them what is happening and get their support.  Council members do not put items on the agenda.  Maybe if 3-4 of them wanted something, Hales may comply, but I don’t remember that ever happening.

Amazingly, several Council members blamed themselves for employees leaving – Schmidt and Sage.  Exactly how is the Council to blame?  The 7 potted plants vote yes almost 100% of the time.  The agenda is presented pre-marked as recommended for approval.  The Council doesn’t supervise anybody but their only employee – David Hales.  How can staff leaving have anything at all to do with the Council?  Isn’t it more likely that the Council’s only employee is to blame?

Here’s what I saw watching the meeting:

  • some Council members don’t want made public what departing employees say
  • some Council members don’t want an outside group looking at why employees leave
  • some Council members will go to any length to deflect blame from the REAL culprit

The Human Relations department currently does some exit surveys.  Why doesn’t the Council know what they say?  Do they say employees can’t stand working for David Hales, or is this why an outside group should do exit surveys?  Are former employees afraid to say how they really feel?  Are employees threatened to keep quiet?  It wouldn’t be the first time!

I’ve reported many times on the mismanagement of the Coliseum.  Obviously David Hales is to blame – he’s in his 5th year has City Manager.  What else has Hales mismanaged?  Maybe those 56 employees that left will spill the beans!  Maybe some Hales lovers don’t want YOU to know.

To David Sage and Karen Schmidt:  if you really believe the Council is to blame, don’t run for reelection next year.  If you are the problem, please spare the citizens from your ineptness.  Karen, you’ve been on the Council since 1999 – maybe you’ve lost perspective!  David, you’ve been on the Council since 2007.  You used to be conservative with taxpayer money.  Somehow you morphed into a Hales lover with blinders on.  When was the last time you voted NO on any spending?  Why do you attack alderman with an opinion different from yours?  Do you only want aldermen who tow the Hales agenda?  Do you two work for Hales or the people paying the bills?

The dog park I wrote about yesterday is evidently in the budget.  So, for your 3 tax increases, you are getting a dog park and flamingos.  What else is buried where you aren’t suppose to see it?

24 days until your gas price goes up!

Here’s the video from last night.  You have to fast forward a little over an hour to get to the actual session, unless you really want to watch empty seats.

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