Letter to the editor: Council President Mike Nelson responds to mayor’s comments about council spending

1726
32
Editor:
I am concerned about the mayor’s comments at Tuesday night’s city council meeting regarding spending, and believe it is necessary for purposes of transparency to set the record straight. While the mayor was critical of city council, the mayor himself has increased spending by $16 million dollars over last year’s city budget.
That is an increase of 17 percent.
The mayor also opposed practically every spending cut submitted by city councilmembers, arguing against 90 percent of the spending cuts that were proposed.
Additionally, the mayor just submitted a request to give his highest paid staff pay raises up to $13,000 per year.
His characterization of excessive spending is a misrepresentation in light of his own actions.
I look forward to working with the mayor in the New Year to rein in his spending.
Mike Nelson, President
Edmonds City Council

32 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Council President Mike Nelson responds to mayor’s comments about council spending”

  1. I don’t live in Edmonds, however every decision in the city from schools to crime to affordable housing affects me.

    Its hard to understand how they could come up with money for a marsh, yet have none for increased crime fighting and traffic enforcement.

    Ignored

    1. I agree with your comment, John. The city council obviously does not know what their priorities are suppose to be – public safety is number one.

      Ignored

  2. At the December 3rd Council Meeting, Police Chief Compaan stated that the department’s Street Crime unit is working effectively and the department currently is in the process of integrating 5 new officers. I did not get the impression that the Council doesn’t care about public safety, but rather that the Police department is busy getting the new officers on board and is not requesting additional officers at this time.

    As for the Marsh and Willow Creek funding, yea to Edmonds for becoming part of the solution to salmon recovery and Orca survival rather than continuing to be part of the problem. Orcas have been an iconic image in the Pacific Northwest for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to reverse the environmental degradation we have caused so they at least have a chance. Edmonds can’t do it alone, but I am proud that by moving forward with the daylighting of Willow Creek, we will at least be doing our part.

    Ignored

    1. Thank you @Kathleen Sears for your desire for additional resources for EPD. I share your desire. I also think the Mayor and Council should be forward thinking enough to begin the process of finding more of the best of the best now and begin to train them effectively.

      I spoke at this week’s meeting, asking Council and the Mayor to revisit Council President Nelson’s request for more EPD resources. I specifically pointed toward the restoration of a program EPD had defunded in 2008, the Crime Prevention Unit. EPD has had the recommendation for the restoration of this unit on it’s strategic planning documentation since 2011.

      Although Council decided not to revisit the issue, at least a seed was planted with this version of Council. Additionally, if you would like details from Chief Al or the department regarding their strategic planning and budget requests, I suggest reaching out directly. The Chief and his leadership team are amazingly approachable to ordinary citizens seeking information.

      Ignored

      1. The City Council is revisiting the issue of additional police (and the Opiod Crisis) in February. Personally I wish the budget process would not suddenly include adding personnel unless Council is made aware of all personnel issues and needs beforehand. When I spoke to the Chief when it was first introduced to him, it seemed to me that we (Council) needed to assess all the levels of the force as many have retired and are being replaced with new officers. In order to determine what is needed, we should determine what we have and fully understand what expertise is needed. All personnel salary increases and additions should be thoughtfully handled during the year, like we do with union contracts, so that everything is completely transparent and everyone can see the reasoning for what level of expertise is needed.

        Ignored

        1. Thank you Council Member Buckshnis. Your public reply is greatly appreciated!

          I’m having a tough time understanding what your post is intending to convey. Co-mingling the staffing of EPD to address the Opiod crisis with staffing recommendations available on the publicly EPD planning documentation since 2011, seems as though someone isn’t having regular conversations with the Chief. I say that with all due respect.

          As I’ve stated in this forum and in front of the entire council, please open a direct dialog with Chief Al and his leadership team. I and our citizens believe in them. If you ask for recommendations as to where they could best utilize additional resources to best serve and protect Edmonds, I believe you would be amazed at the amount of data they have to stand behind their recommendations.

          Thanks again for reaching out publicly.

          Ignored

        2. Thank you Diane, good logical discussion. The more things are transparent the better the public input and the better decisions by Council.

          Ignored

    2. Just an FYI that the city is preparing a response to the numbers included in Council President Nelson’s letter and that will be published as soon as we receive it.

      Ignored

    3. It is important to note that the five new officers are not five additions to the headcount – they are primarily replacements. In recent years there has been no increase in those devoted to traffic enforcement.

      Ignored

    4. Right on Kathleen. Personally, I’ve been pretty ignorant of the importance of the marsh until reading about it MEN and following the Port Commission election. Not putting the importance of runoff filtering to the side, land conversion in general is the biggest environmental issue. It would be interesting to see if additional land set-assides could be made, maybe even buying additional reservation and letting nature take converted land back. The council has maybe been a bit too preoccupied with straws, solar panels, tinkering with PUD. The council has even been against recycling in the case of crumb rubber, spending additional money to fill fields with non-recycled materials.

      Ignored

  3. Yes, fair point that the police officers now “in process” are not new positions. They do, however, represent 10% of the force, so the end result will be a significant increase in deployed officers. This isn’t to say that even more officers aren’t needed, just that it seems prudent to get all currently funded positions filled and deployed first, then reassess.

    Regarding traffic, Council approved the purchase of traffic monitoring software requested by the Police Department, which according to Chief Compaan could double the number of citations than are possible with the current “chalking” method. Additionally, the software eliminates the need for manual paperwork, thereby freeing up time for actual parking enforcement.

    Ignored

    1. I suggest caution when taking the mindset the “5” new officers is a 10% increase in our brave police force. Unless I’m mistaken, the new officers are replacing those that have retired, left the force and via natural department attrition. So the “net gain” of new officers is zero. The exception is the new school resource officer for the multiple schools currently residing on the old Woodway campus.

      I agree with investing in technology to improve the efficiency of our brave officer’s. However, I believe we as citizens and EPD would benefit from getting additional resources funded and in the on-boarding process ASAP. (Just guessing; processing the hire, on-boarding, training and then deploy fully trained officers to protect and serve the community is a rather lengthy process)

      Again, I suggest visiting the city website to obtain the email addresses of our elected officials and specifically visit the EPD site to peruse their strategic planning requests.

      http://www.edmondswa.gov/city-council.html

      http://www.edmondswa.gov/images/COE/Government/Departments/Police/Forms/MultiyearPlan.pdf

      Ignored

    2. Parking enforcement was improved this year by the increase in the parking officer’s hours from half time to full time, now the wise acquisition of the software will allow even more improvement. But traffic enforcement still remains a problem because of no additional resources devoted to that activity.

      Ignored

  4. Hi Ron,

    I know why and how dear to your heart is traffic enforcement. God Bless you and your wife!! I hope your life has returned to something close to normal.

    However, to me, the deployment of current and future EPD resources should be based upon the wisdom of Chief Al and his department. We should obviously express our view toward our believed areas of need. But, what if their data indicated an area of focus is required in another area?

    I believe we are in agreement about additional EPD resources. However, I trust chief Al and his leadership team.

    Ignored

  5. There should be a full public disclosure of the Mayor’s discretionary spending account.
    Earling never turned down a pay raise for himself, or City Hall, regardless of the economy.
    Documents show that employees in Edmonds are at the top of the pay scale, for every position, for the entire state.

    Ignored

  6. Great Mike Nelson, we need to know these things.
    I too heard the last meeting talking about increasing police force. I heard the police chief saying he needs one more policeman for a specific TASK force. He then said he would use another police officer in a difference position. I at no time heard him say he was satisfied with the policeman he currently has.
    If you were to ask me more police or the marsh.. I would say police first then the marsh.

    Ignored

    1. Again, I don’t live in Edmonds proper, but am affected by what is done.

      At this point, what they should do is return to the budget, take half the money allocated towards the marsh and trade that for police officers.

      It’s what the people want and deserve. A good quality of life, low crime and enforced traffic rules are much more important.

      Ignored

      1. The Marsh Restoration money is set aside in reserve for the daylighting project.

        I’m curious about the additional officers issue – did the Chief ask for any additional officers? I’d support getting more traffic patrol.

        Ignored

  7. What police chief would turn down extra policemen? especially when burglary is growing in Edmonds? Love FULL disclosure with elected officials. Ask Safeway…How many grocery stores have their own parking spot?

    Ignored

  8. I agree with an earlier comment expressing concern about the council president bringing his sentiments public. I find it very unprofessional to do such a thing. He’s the council president, for crying out loud. Go talk to the mayor directly, if you have a beef. It sounds petty and like a little child who did not get his way. After sitting through a recent council meeting and listening to each council member propose additions for their own pet interests, it’s obvious this is a very ad hoc process. I saw very little written info or analysis offered by any council member to substantiate or justify their request, only oral arguments. I heavily suspected there had been a lot of behind the scenes discussions which the public will never hear about. At any rate, the letter by the council president has more self serving political overtones than anything else, in my opinion. I think the mayor and staff deserve better.

    Ignored

      1. It’s cliche posturing. The Edmonds City Council, not all are this way of course, just saying the seats, are a farm team for partisan offices. The state draft position must not be available yet. Nelson seems to coordinate with Seattle a bit too.

        Ignored

    1. Please watch and listen to the Mayor’s comments at hour of last weeks City Council meeting. Council resident Nelson letter to the Editor is appropriate. Once again, Mayor Earling acted traditionally by interjected his outrageous opinion (my way or the highway) during Council deliberations in violation of parliamentary procedural rules and etiquette to shame the deliberating body.

      Ignored

  9. When we were renegotiating the Fire and EMS contract the Mayor and staff along with several council members did a great job to reduce our costs AND continue to provide the best overall service for our citizens. I recall one council member objecting to the Mayors cost savings measures. It is also interesting to note that council raised the EMS tax that does not even show up on our tax statement. Very little can be found about this tax by searching on the city web site.

    Ignored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *