Thursday, May 15, 2008

On the City Budget

Via Leslie Bridgers's article on the city budget in this week's American Journal, here are the particulars of the latest round of budgeting:
  • The Finance Committee approved the school budget, which was decreased by $46,000 because of a grant.
  • The Finance Committee unanimously voted to restore funding ($8,8775) for the position of a part-time car washer.
  • The Finance Committee rejected a proposal to double the funding (from $1,500 to $3,000) for a dinner organized to recognize public safety officials, 3-3. (Councilors Aube, Foley, and Joyce in favor; Councilors Gattine, O'Hara, Rielly against.)
  • The Finance Committee was able to extract $15,370 from the budget because of redundancy in the Police Department's budget.
  • The Finance Committee supported an increase of $6,100 to cover the cost of printing and postage for citywide mailings on behalf of the Recreation Department, 5-1. (Councilors Aube, Gattine, Joyce, O'Hara, Rielly in favor; Councilor Foley against.)
  • The Finance Committee increased funding for social services by $12,100, including an extra $6,000 for the Mission Possible Teen Center and an extra $3,000 to the Red Cross.

The City Council will be voting on Monday to give preliminary approval to budget. The meeting is at 7p, and will take place in Room 114 at the Westbrook High School.

- John C.L. Morgan


Anonymous said...

Why is the chair of the finance committee a 20 year old? I don't understand why the Westbrook Democrats continue to place him in roles that need someone with more experience. And lets not post that he is special and deserves the role. And lets not say that its a learning opportunity. Those are lame arguments. The council is a place to have experienced individuals lead us, not try to groom someone for the next run at mayor.

Anonymous said...

What is your problem with him?

Autumn Breeze said...

I think the chair of the finance committee is doing a great job, just as good as anyone else could do. Just because someone is older and has more "experience" doesn't necessarily mean they are more qualified.

Mr. Foley is always prepared for the meeting(s); I am aware he changed the format of approving the budget & running the finance committee meetings, and several people have told him he is doing a great job.

The first anonymous person apparently doesn't know this, but Councilor Foley was one of the student representatives for WHS School Committee for 2 years, his junior year and senior year, not to mention he got a scholarship presented to him by Stan Sawyer for this. With no break he went right to the city council at age 18, and this is now his 3rd year on the City Council, so that is 5 total years of serving the City of Westbrook. That is basically the same amount of time as some of the other council members.

It is clear that you dislike Mr. Foley, but I know personally of MANY people in Westbrook, including city officials, employees of the school & the city, who consider Michael a friend, congratulating him on his hard work and dedication. He is only trying to serve his city and help it to be the best place it can be, and you are making him out to be here to ruin the place. Maybe not being anonymous would change your point of view?

Everyone has to start somewhere, and for a 20 year old to be doing as great of a job as he is doing, I think that is cause for praise rather than insults and ridicule! Obviously that would be out of the question for you, but all I have to say is: if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Autumn, I think you have left out many things, and are right to point out his accomplishments. However, serving two years on student council does not give him anything, nor does being prepared for meetings if he doesn't understand the concepts before him.

The political friends that Mr. Foley have are all democrats, which will support their own, much like a republican would support their own. Praise from others that have their own agenda means nothing. Plus, City workers would support him, as he advocates for more money to their causes.

I am well aware of Mr. Foley's accomplishments, but have yet to see anything endearing about him, other than he is being groomed by the Democrats. Also, I never insulted or ridiculed him, just asked a simple question about why a 20 year old was heading up the finance council.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like somebody has a political axe to grind.

Or perhaps it's simply jealousy?

Either way, it would be difficult to legitimately criticize the job that Councilor Foley is doing. He clearly understands the concepts before him at least as well any other City Councilor sitting on that panel. He does his homework, asks intelligent questions and makes his decisions without any apparent bias. Unlike the previous blogger.

Anonymous said...

I have no political ax to grind, but am simply asking why he is Finance Chair. Considering there are some very educated, and clearly more talented individuals on the Council, I would think he would be the last choice for chair. (Cramer is college educated and held a council seat before he took over for Ed, Reilly has a law degree, Gatine has a law degree, I don't know anything about O'hara but he has been around forever).

I find it funny that the previous posters that are protecting Mr. Foley resort to conjecture and conspiracy when a topic about him arises. I stated nothing other than why he would be appointed to run a $53 Million Dollar Budget. I guess my questioning of why a 20 year old city councilor is running a budget of that size is unfounded, and I apologize.

Clearly, Sheeple (Sheep + People) live in Westbrook, and do as they are told without question. Yea for civilized discussion.

Anonymous said...

Good Point. I bet Foley couldn't be hired for a similar job, yet he is qualified to Chair the Finance Committee for the Council. I didn't realize how much money the budget was dealing with, and now I am confused to why they would let him take charge of it. Does he have a college degree, or something that qualifies him to do these things?

Anonymous said...

Are you people stupid! It's not like he is in charge of balancing the budget and all the accounting, all he does is run the meetings where the budget is reviewed as well as other finance committee meetings. The city hires people who have degrees such the finance director(s) and a city administrator who put it all together. I suggest you people learn about how your government operates before you make comments about how things are going.

Also for everyone's information he spent two years on the Westbrook School Committee (not student council) which he was appointed to by the WHS Principal & Superintendent as well as accepted by all seven members of the board. On that board he probably did a lot more than you think and I also suggest you learn about that position before you make comments about it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Someone Touched a Nerve with Someone. Technically, Mayor Chuluda and Jerry Bryant put the budget together with the city Finance Director, and then submit it to the Finance Committee. If you want to be nit picky.

I will agree with the other posters that as Chair you have more responsibility than just running the meeting.

As for that Westbrook School Committee the last blogger was talking about, it is nothing more than a paper representation of the High School Students. Last I checked, I never see a Westbrook School Committee member sitting at any of the meetings, or getting a vote. So where is the importance of this position (nada). So try not to make it sound more important than it really is, a way for the school to involve students in government procedures.

The last blogger was lame for even trying to make a case for Foley Based on that.

Anonymous said...

Autumn is clearly the same age as Mr. Foley, otherwise she wouldn't make such childish statements in her posts. Try to include some substance next time. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Well, the person who feels the need to pick on a particular councilor whenever his name is mentioned is not entirely mature, in my opinion.

I suspect there is some jealousy and personal dislike (as the Result of something that happened in the past) motivating these discussions aimed at the same individual.

I am not observing much respect from the initiator's side of the argument.

Each person who posts claims they have THE facts, so that should be looked at.

If a person believes he is omniscient, why doesn't he identify himself?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you use your full name to identify yourself like you do on the PPH website!

Anonymous said...

Wow, clearly someone is reaching here on these boards. Funny that someone has to elude to ulterior motives when someone is questioned. I have no personal issues with anyone on the council, just that they are trying to place someone in a position they clearly do not belong. If that is being omniscient, than I guess I am living up to a big word being thrown around. Other people on this post have agreed with my original post. But again, we live in a gestapo type of environment called Westbrook, where I must be oppressed by the people who know how to think for me. I thank you for trying to bully me into submission without even trying to have a civilized conversation or offer a decent counter point.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I left out if the two posts asking for me to identify myself were intended for me, as the original blogger. If it was, my initials are SPM.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt those are your initials.

Anonymous said...

Why do you even live in Westbrook if it's such a poorly run city? If you disagree with most of what goes on here, why not move some place else that lives up to your expectations?

Anonymous said...

Westbrook Politics appears to be dirty, by looking at these posts. Whenever I have people come to my door for politics, all they do is throw dirt on their opponent instead of saying what they will do for the city. I found it tasteless, and find all these posts tasteless. If anyone on the council doesn't want people to criticize them, then don't come to my door and speak half truths (and outright lies/exaggerations)about the person you beat, and vise versa.

Anonymous said...

As a college student I have too much on my plate to run a campaign. I would like to become more involved, but the amount of money needed to run is a disadvantage against an incumbent. I like how you tell me to move if I don't like your politics. Classic Elitism.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has said they are better than you. We are simply trying to support people we believe in who are being ripped apart by others who know nothing about them. We haven't invited this drama, and I personally don't appreciate the belittling of peers.

I just don't understand why a person would want to live in a city if they are so disgusted with the city council. By calling other people "Sheeples" seems snobby to me, but maybe I'm not as smart as you are?

I found this definition for gestapo: : a secret-police organization employing underhanded and terrorist methods against persons suspected of disloyalty.

For you to even suggest that is the most absurd exaggeration I have ever heard in my entire life. If that's your opinion, why stay here? It just doesn't seem logical to me!

Anonymous said...

A person gets elected by working really hard, not sitting at a computer complaining.

Anonymous said...

Will the person alleging that Councilor Foley is out of his league with respect to chairing the finance committee please offer specific reasons rather than apparently baseless criticism?

Anonymous said...

I never said I was disgusted with the city council or disliked this city. I said the tactics of the posters on this site were using tactics of intimidation and pressure to undermine my opinion, and not direct the topic to Mr. Foley. I simply asked a question, and have received extreamly negative posts in return. Maybe if the posters wanted to enlighten me as to why Mr. Foley is a perfect choice for finance chair instead of anyone else on the council, I will be respectful of that. But I have yet to see ANYONE talk about him, and have only directed their comments to me. That is how everyone who reads these blogs will know that you have no real belief in his abilities, other than you are one of his friends. This was a very sad blog, and my original question is still unanswered. I may change my opinion if I was enlightened, but that does not seem to be the agenda for the other bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you skipped over my blog or perhaps you simply want to react in a defensive manner.

I was the poster who noted that my observations of Councilor Foley are that he "does his homework, asks intelligent questions and makes his decisions without any apparent bias".

I happen to be pretty tuned in to local politics and have spent much time observing the city council as a whole.

I'm also the poster who asked that "the person alleging that Councilor Foley is out of his league with respect to chairing the finance committee please offer specific reasons rather than apparently baseless criticism".

I didn't think you'd be able to respond intelligently to that one. I guess I was right.

Anonymous said...

The person who keeps saying no one is responding to the original post is apparently not reading certain responses. There is also a person who avoids answering questions or admitting they have used negative adjectives to describe the city & the people living in it. It's hard to discern if it's the same person or multiple people with the same outlook because it's all anonymous. None of this makes sense!