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Just a Thought - City using tax dollars unwisely
Lisa Hobbs, new mugshot.jpg

Give McMinnville officials a round of applause. Sarcastically, she wrote. 

City officials finally completed an endeavor to divide the job responsibilities of the Finance Department director. Shirley Durham is now the recorder and Samantha Moore director/ treasurer. Nothing against either of these ladies. They perform their jobs extremely well, as best I can tell. Both are professionals. 

My bone of contention, along with how officials handled this split, is the end financial result. One person performing both responsibilities cost taxpayers $109,075 annually. Two people now cost taxpayers a combined $192,629 annually. Moore’s salary was set by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at $83,554.

Isn’t that the opposite of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars?

Government has a fundamental responsibility to be effective stewards of the taxpayers’ money. They must be responsible with money that comes in and make sure it is spent cautiously in running the government. Decision makers must make financially sound, informed decisions in order to maintain the public’s confidence. 

I have to question if the decision to divide the job responsibilities of the Finance Department director was a sound one, given its financial impact on taxpayers. 

It was obvious from the beginning that a behind-the-scenes movement was underway that required Durham out of the way. She didn’t want to go, which put a wrinkle in the plan. The state of affairs soon spilled into public view. 

I called it a hostile takeover in a January column and that was accurate. 

During open meetings, once Durham made it clear that she would not go quietly into the night, officials talked about the need to divide the job responsibilities and “lighten” the workload by separating city recorder and treasurer. That mission was finally accomplished. 

Now that Durham is city recorder and Moore is director/treasurer. I’m sure their workload is lighter, but the strain on the budget – aka tax dollars – is much heavier. 

These kinds of situations make people question if government – local, state or federal – is broken. It shakes people’s confidence that elected officials always make financially sound, informed decisions in order to be good stewards. 

Officials worked really hard on this one. However, I don’t think it turned out the way they wanted. They wanted a smooth transition of leadership in that department. Instead, it resulted in controversy, a behind-the-scenes brouhaha, a public spectacle, and paying $192,629 for two people. 

It’s important to mention not all officials were on board with this change. Alderman Stacey Harvey was against removing Durham as director. However, that came to an end when she voluntarily stepped down with the understanding she would receive no cut in her salary. 

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.