As the city goes about its governance, leaders frame their decision-making and problem-solving to meet their mission statement: “Democratic, Transparent, Efficient.” So let’s put that mission statement to the test with examples.

First example: Swift Food Inc.’s proposal to possibly locate its new plant in Columbia. City to pay for the $1.3 million sewer extension. City did not mandate in writing that the actual cost could not exceed the $1.3 million price, or, if the $185 million plant actually costs less, that the city would get reimbursed.

One could conclude that this was not democratic or efficient.

Who were the other cities in the competition? Not transparent.

What were the electric demand charges of the other cities, so you could actually compare the differences? Not transparent.

Why couldn’t the electric rebate be paid from the General Fund Reserve Account, which amounts to tens of millions of dollars and would serve a good purpose for job creation? One could conclude that its approach was not democratic, transparent or efficient.

Second example: Awarded a contract to KLM Engineering Inc. from Prairie Village, Kansas, who at the deadline of the Request for Quote, or RFQ, was not licensed to practice engineering in the state of Missouri, which was clearly stated in the request.

This type of decision-making is not democratic, transparent or efficient in the procurement processes of the city for those that competed in the RFQ.

Do we recommend that the city revise its mission statement to be “somewhat democratic, selectively transparent and 50.1% efficient”? Should these situations be evaluated through the ongoing performance audit?

John Conway is a Columbia resident.


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