Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sundry Solstice Subjects

I hope you had a good Christmas. Myself, I got my best present early, Dec. 17th. Animal Services Board finally voted unanimously to forward to Council an amendment to ordinance limiting a city property to one mature rooster. Should Council agree, and I believe they will, my rude neighbor's fighting cock factory will have to be moved out of town. Or eaten, I really don't care, so long as I don't hear it at 3:00 AM.

San Angelo has 20-some advisory Boards and Commissions. These bodies of unpaid citizen volunteers look at specific areas of interest, ranging from animals to parks to the airport, to historic downtown, etc. Functioning properly, they serve to advise Council of problems, either existing or potential, and suggest appropriate action to avert or correct such problems.

I really don't want to be hard on Animal Services Board. I caught them at a time of flux, we had a new Shelter Director and a new Chair of the Board. That said, a fairly simple bit of work took 4 months. I would hate to discourage volunteers to advisory committees, but if one does volunteer, one should take the time to learn the job. Oh yeah, and showing up for meetings, that helps too.

Councilman Morrison has given me a new nickname of Rooster Ryan, and congratulated me on my patience. Mr. Turner and I will be suggesting a Board review process. If approved, this would have Council taking by turns each Board, one at a time, to be "audited" by Council, so that each comes before Council about every 18 months. What I discovered was that I had individually had more communication with Council and city staff than the Animal Services Board had bothered with.

In a similar vein, I have been at this long enough to pre-date internet access. San Angelo is really very good on this, and improving all the time. Information I'd have had to take the day off to dig up in the mid-90s, I can now get at 3:00 AM in bathrobe and slippers. I would suggest that each advisory Board include contact info for its members on its city website.

This holiday season is a good time to pass out some attaboys. We have as good a staff as I have ever dealt with. I don't agree with them all the time, heck I don't agree with ME all the time, but we do have truly competent people on staff. Mindy Ward as City Atty will be missed, but a well-deserved retirement and that office is in competent hands. Ditto Kathy Keane for Economic Development. Best wishes to both ladies.

The new Library is coming along nicely. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this a reality at minimal taxpayer expense. Ralph Hoelscher gets a special "feather-in-the-cap" for bringing city/county together to make this happen.

I have worked as election judge/alt. judge since 1992. Lots of changes in law and administrators over that time. Vona McKerly gets a special attaboy for dealing with extraordinary difficulties efficiently. From the poll-workers' point of view, the job has been simplified in the face of ever more complex legal requirements without busting the budget. Elections has gone from making national headlines over a seemingly interminable recount, to smooth results rendered promptly.

I see a bright future in troubled times for San Angelo. We are setting the mark for low unemployment, we have new construction and new jobs. I turned down a better paying job in Lubbock, I can't see leaving this town. Born here, and grown to love it.

I hope you had a great Christmas, may the New Year treat you well. Oh and "GO UT Longhorns" (but I wouldn't bet the farm on it).

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