It’s not up to Mayor McLin how to spend funds

Herein lies the problem with our city manager form of government and the way we do things in Dayton. We sent our part-time mayor to meet with the most powerful man in the country- to discuss our future, when in fact, our City Manager is supposed to be the one running our show. Their pay scale should make it quite clear who has responsibility and who is the figurehead. The City Manager makes $125K/yr+ and has day-to-day responsibility to make our city work. The Mayor makes $36K/yr and is only supposed to serve as the head of the board of directors for the city manager.

So when we send Mayor McLin to Washington, we’re cheating our true city leader for the chance to do his thing.

McLin, seated in the East Room of the White House during her first visit to the Obama White House, had no problem with that deal.

“They are letting us know they are holding us accountable for what they’ve done for us,” she said afterward. “And they want to work with us.”

She said she considers the stimulus bill an added one-time shot of money that will allow cities to create jobs by paving neglected roads, retaining police officers and fixing crumbling infrastructure.

via McLin meets with Obama and Biden.

In fact, her list of uses for the money shows her lack of vision for our city and our lack of proper process in running our city. We should already know what we need to do to accomplish our goals. But wait, that would mean we would have goals and an operating principle to work toward.

We have, for years, never finished what we start (goes back to our multiple master plans).

What should our goals be? Here is a short list of guidelines to transform Dayton, to be refined later:

  • Increase income tax base by adding jobs and residents, and improving the welfare of citizens so they can be more productive and happy.
  • Protect property values by working to strengthen neighborhood leadership in identifying and working with distressed property owners. Restoring faith in the future of investments in Dayton is a critical goal.
  • Delivery of highest quality public services, including schools and extracurricular activity for our children.
  • Work toward a streamlined regional government at every opportunity to build cooperation and efficiency in delivery of government.
  • Evaluate all investments by the number of people we impact, not the value of the return per se.

By these standards, repairing roads, retaining police officers and fixing infrastructure all account for ordinary services. These are not ordinary times, requiring us to take extraordinary steps to catapult our city forward.

Some examples that would have a transformational change in our community for these one-time infusions:

  • Light up the city’s existing dark fiber for a public ISP that would provide unparalleled bandwidth to our residents at a much more reasonable cost than what is being charged by private companies. It would quickly push Dayton to a competitive advantage with our low cost of housing and living.
  • Invest in public child care so that our low-income households can put more of their money back into their home improvements and improve their standard of living. It also would help make sure we are using Head Start principles to their fullest. I’ve discussed this since my first run for office.
  • Build Sportsplex on the Parkside Homes land for public recreation and as a prime amenity for our citizens and as our city’s playground and point-of-pride. It’s high visibility, central location and value to all. Companies will see this complex as a way to lure digital workers in the same way that universities entice students with student activity centers.
  • Implement walk-to-work incentive breaks for employers, fostering a forward thinking fuel efficient city better prepared for high gas prices than places like LA.

If we want to see the kind of transformational change in Dayton that I’ve outlined here, we need to have people on that board of directors who understand our system, and use it to move us forward. We don’t have time to keep doing things the way we have in the past.

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about ways to transform Dayton- try reading this as well: A radical, simple plan for transforming Dayton from Dec. 2007

I need your help and support. If you agree with these ideas, please forward this article (click on the headline to isolate it) and send the link to your friends who live in Dayton. Thank you,

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