Once upon a time, there was a place that was created in the Twilight Zone in the X dimension unknown on planet earth. That place, Molalla Oregon, has operated for years beyond the realm of normal human understanding. Unfortunately, the abnormal workings massively affect the bottom line of the trapped citizen taxpayers – oops! make that every taxpayer in America!
If you are looking for a poster child for dysfunctional city management, Molalla hits the bullseye every time: Ground zero for failure, ground zero for urban decay, ground zero for lack of transparency and, most of all, ground zero for lack of respect for ethical management of public funds!
Let’s think about normal American actions first. Imagine that you are a consumer, trapped for years in a horrible financial spiral that has caused you to go into a half a million dollars in debt. Imagine also that YOUR debt has been caused by incompetent and unethical workers and that you just found a great way to get rid of them, no strings attached. You could begin to rebuild your future, by digging out of the hole others have dug for you step by step. What would YOU do?
I’d sure proceed full speed ahead! First, I would boot the incompetent and unethical workers out so fast it would make their heads spin. Then, I would implement whatever plan I found to fix my finances asap. I bet you wouldn’t let the grass grow under your feet either – and most of all, none of us would feel a bit of obligation or responsibility to the workers who ruined our financial security with their ham-handed “work”.
And I bet you and I would never have been in the above mess in the first place, because we would have researched qualifications and matched skilled professionals to complex jobs. I sure don’t gaff any dumb “guy” off the sidewalk and ask him to be my brain surgeon – or even to be my car mechanic. I want skilled purveyors to work for me!
But that’s not at all how things work in Twilight Zone Molalla!
In Molalla, a few good old boys gaffed their buddy (drinkin’ buddy? card playin’ pizza eatin’ buddy?) off the sidelines – an ex-cop who was on disability – and crowned him “planning director” with a HUGE SALARY. Even though the “guy” had no verbal skills or customer service skills or writing ability and had no college education (let alone training in planning!), they threw the huge salary at the “guy” for years.
The “guy” proceeded to use public funds to “create” an abject train wreck of a city – dead-end roads, urban decay, stuff em in housing developments, no SDCs (or secret deals, “work in kind” that lead to nothing, that the “guy” made to aid developers at the expense of the Molalla taxpayers?), uneven enforcement of codes, the list of public abuses and failures is long and ugly!
Ultimately, the planning “guy” reached total failure recently with the defeat of the only “plans” the “guy” tried to pass: the urban reserves. And in doing his bogus incompetent, unethical “work”, the “guy” created the above mentioned HALF A MILLION DOLLAR PLANNING DEFICIT.
In the meantime, Twilight Zone Molalla hired, in 2007, another “guy” to be city manager – a “guy” who had never been a city manager! That “guy” was loathed in his former post in community relations in West Linn because he was trying to take the power away from neighborhood associations.
You might guess where this new city manager “guy” was going to take Molalla: On the ride of all rides, colluding with the planning “guy” to ONLY honor the needs and wishes of land speculators and “we don’t live in the city” business owners. The city manager “guy” has been a top down dictator who has tried at every turn to consolidate his power and to shut out the public and the city council from understanding the real issues facing the city.
So here we are today with TRAIN WRECK MOLALLA. Thank heaven, the city manager “guy” will soon to retire (tellingly, he announced his exit the day of the HUGE DEFEAT at County over the urban reserves, what a coward!) and a council interested in replacing the planning “guy” with professional County contract planning.
The council has been concerned for months about the horrific, ever-growing planning deficit and has instructed the manager “guy” months ago to post-haste solve the nasty financial problem the “guys” with no competence or skill have created in their quest to help their good old boy overlords. Again, that quest ran off the rail with the County saying a couple of great big DENIES to the urban reserves.
The City of Molalla is in shambles but the end is easily in sight with contract planning, right?
At last week’s city council, as the supposed work to diminish the deficit spending was discussed, the city manager “guy” dropped the Twilight Zone bomb of all bombs: City manager “guy”claimed that he “negotiated” a reduction in hours for the planning “guy” (it doesn’t matter how many hours the planning “guy” works, it all ends up as a tangled pile of illegal nothingness!). City manager “guy” then revealed that “in honor of planning “guy’s” service”, planning “guy” – WITHOUT PLANNING SKILLS AND AFTER CREATING A HALF A MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT – would get a 3 months SEVERANCE PAY GOLDEN PARACHUTE WHEN HE GETS THE BOOT!
I am sorry the world missed that moment of horror and anger when the city council got that news! There was, as you can imagine, strong interest in CANNING CITY MANGER “GUY” on the spot! What sane person would EVER provide a golden parachute to an incompetent and failed worker who has done nothing but trash the physical city, alienate any potential investors and drive home a half million dollar deficit “planning” for private speculators who live outside the city limits? But remember: We aren’t discussing a SANE city or even one that operates within the parameters of reality – it’s Molalla, it’s the craziest and most corrupt burg known to man!
Adding hilarity to the situation, the retired grade school teacher (read: rap your knuckles and forget about free speech!) secretary of the Molalla CPO, who goes out of her way in other meetings to demand civility and hand raising (you should see the inane bold disclaimer plastered across the top of CPO agendas warning about “HAND RAISING TO BE RECOGNIZED” directed at adults) actually broke into the city council meeting OUT OF ORDER to protect her corrupt hero, the city manager “guy”! That’s pretty funny, I wish I could have heard her harangue after the meeting – many city councilors have commented to me about how crazy she was, screaming stuff about not being “christian” to the “nice” city manager “guy”.
Go figure, I imagine the CPO civility nut is just worried about her city manager “guy” riding out-of-town and leaving her bereft of cops to patrol the River Corridor. Everyone has a corrupt hook in something in Molalla and the CPO “RAISE YOUR HANDS TO SPEAK” crazo is just as into nepotism as city manager “guy”. Her attitude is obviously “To HELL (except she would not say “HELL” I bet) with all the other issues, city manager “guy” helped ME and MY little cause, who cares if he is incompetent, incapable of managing public money and unethical, because I GOT MINE”.
That “I GOT MINE” attitude sums Twilight Zone Molalla up perfectly. Anyone who “GETS” their pound of unethical flesh out of the city could give a rat’s ass about the quality of life and social justice issues piling up by the day in crumbling Molalla. But CPO Civility freak GOT HERS (she DOESN’T LIVE IN THE CITY), planning “guy” got his pile of ill-gotten public tax generated salary over all these years, and nasty failed manager “guy” is laughing all the way to the bank as he drives to his mansion SOMEWHERE ELSE.
For the real world folks who want to watch an episode of TWILIGHT ZONE MOLALLA, I am posting the city council meeting YTube links below. Don’t miss it – it is better than tv. I think a reality show should contract for the rights, because the sane world would never believe it could happen in 2011 America.
See the city manager guy tell lies! See him try to defend the golden parachute for pathetic planning “guy”! Watch him try to squirm his way out and fail.
See earnest city councilors (finally!) try to solve the nasty financial and social problems they have inherited after years of insider traders ran the city into the ground! Give them a round of applause because they have the work of all work ahead of them to dig out of the mess the planning and manager “guys” have left them with.
See former city councilor and now President of the Buckeroo Animal Abuse Association Michelle Mills, awaiting trial for embezzling $300,000 from her employer, plead to the council about GRANT MONEY! That alone is worth it – the same bad pennies (excuse the pun) turn up over and over again. I bet if the planning guy had overtly stolen money from city (not too far-fetched, given the history!) the manager “guy” would STILL BE REWARDING HIM! How can a public association keep an accused embezzler as its front person and expect public support – and how can the accused embezzler think it ok to keep the post? Only in Twilight Zone Molalla does THAT HAPPEN!
Hear the disruption when the Civility Freak CPO secretary is UNCIVIL and breaks into the private meeting! I really love that kind of double standard! Note that the council has to call “point of order” when she DISRUPTS the meeting.
Be glad – be VERY GLAD – if you are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t pay taxes to TWILIGHT ZONE MOLALLA. If you are one of the unlucky ones, you should watch every second of the meeting and then pick up the phone and call every city councilor to tell them what YOU think about a golden parachute for a planning “guy” who has ruined every project he touched.
Go to City of Molalla website, find link for city councilors, hit their name and you will get a phone number. Or better yet, write to them all at the provided email addresses. As long as the people – ALL OF US! – who are funding (with local, County and State resources!) these fiascos stay silent, unethical, insider trading “guys” will continue to steal YOUR hard-earned money to fund abject NEPOTISM.
Did anyone give YOU a golden parachute last time you were laid off or fired?
Links to council meeting: