Conway Spending Emergency: Gym Memberships
According to the latest City Council agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, spending $16,237.50 for gym memberships for Conway employees and retirees is an emergency, so the spending ordinance must be brought up and voted on (without public readings) on the same night, at the same Council meeting.
And not only that, the “ordinance is necessary for the protection of the public peace, health and safety.” Okay, we know that’s sandard wording, but it brings a unique view to the situation. We suppose those City employees will riot in the streets, disrupting the peace, if they cannot go to the gym on the taxpayer’s dime.
Seriously, Conway City Council’s proclivity to pass ordinances as if they are all needed due to emergencies is getting more than a little old. A city the size of Conway should be able to expect transparency in public business; the public readings of ordinances is designed to do just that.
It’s not that the City Council hasn’t heard this before; several Council observers have asked about this habit before.
That the City Council repeatedly ignores this basic tenet should tell us all something about the way Conway’s business gets handled. Or, are we to think Conway leaders don’t plan ahead so that ordinances and expenses are always handled at the last minute?
There’s certainly no respect for taxpayers — the “regular guy on the street” who expects, rightly so, there to be some public discussion and transparency about issues as well as budget matters facing the City.
Reading an ordinance at one meeting and waiting until another meeting to vote at least gives the public time to know what problems and responses are being considered by the City’s leaders.
Not following that practice gives the impression that city government is dictatorial, not transparent, and certainly not representative of the people it purports to govern.