Enough nit-picking alreadyWell, here we go again. In the name of accountability, three members of the City Council have decided that the work of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation’s grants committee needs to be micromanaged. First it was the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Now it’s BCTF. It won’t be long before the city’s Finance and Legal Committee meetings will be all-day affairs.
Well, here we go again. In the name of accountability, three members of the City Council have decided that the work of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation’s grants committee needs to be micromanaged. First it was the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Now it’s BCTF. It won’t be long before the city’s Finance and Legal Committee meetings will be all-day affairs.
In fact, three members of the council want to apply the same micromanagement to every city employee, too, apparently with the certain knowledge that they as elected officials have more expertise in street repair, tax assessments and zoning than those hired to do the work. So along with Finance and Legal meetings, the Public Works and Building, Planning and Zoning committees could also turn into marathons of nit-picking.
But we were speaking of the BCTF. The three members of the City Council had nothing but praise for the work of the foundation’s volunteer board. And so they should. Tourism groups have worked to improve and staff their sites using funds approved by the foundation through an application process. The result has been a $10 million economic impact. Just recently the regional magazine “Midwest Living” named Jamestown as one of the 100 Best Small-Town Getaways.
So, it’s not too surprising that those accomplishments would have led council members John Grabinger, Kelani Parisien and Mayor Clarice Liechty to step in to micromanage BCTF in the name of “accountability.” It’s already happened with the JSDC.
The three City Council members, in their vote earlier this week, decided that tourism grants over $2,000 must be approved by the council, not the BCTF. In the past four years the BCTF grants committee has processed 121 grants, 86 of which topped the $2,000 mark. This is above and beyond the cost of summer staffing, which uses the bulk of the grant funds.
The reason the BCTF took on the task of assessing and approving these grant applications is neither the City Council nor the JSDC Board had the time or the expertise to do it. The BCTF provides monthly and annual reports of what it has done with the money entrusted to it. Now apparently these three City Council members figure they have plenty of time and, of course, the expertise to decide whether a site is worthy of a grant. Do they also get the right then to arbitrarily change the amounts or choose the sites they want funded?
If our elected officials really want to take responsibility, become more accountable or whatever buzz word they’re using today, they’ll get off the backs of people who are doing their jobs well. Then our elected leaders will do their jobs, which are to help Jamestown grow and develop. They’ll provide regulations and support for that growth and development and they’ll quit doing their best to destroy what’s working while ignoring what’s broken.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)