Public Watchdog.org

The Latest Budget Veto From “Mayor No”

06.08.11

Approximately 20 years ago, then-Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar earned the derisive nickname “Gov. No” from then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley because of Edgar’s semi-regular rejections of Daley’s demands for more State funding to cover for Daley’s then-nascent mismanagement that would ultimately grow into the financial disaster he recently bequeathed to Rahm Emanuel. 

Edgar had to be the “adult” governor after 14 years of irresponsible wheeling-and-dealing by his predecessor, James “Big Jim” Thompson, who left Illinois in almost as bad financial shape as it’s in today.  

Interestingly enough, some disgruntled local big-government, tax-and-spenders have started referring to Park Ridge Mayor Dave Schmidt as “Mayor No” because of his budget hawk policies and practices over the past two years. 

Schmidt was in office less than two months before he issued what appears to have been the first-ever Park Ridge mayoral veto, of excessive community group expenses in the 2009-10 budget.  That veto was over-ridden, as were his vetoes of the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 budgets, by a hostile City Council dominated by coat-holders/campaign contributors of Schmidt’s predecessor, Howard Frimark, whose mayoral legacy currently stands at one cut-down, 7-man City Council that spent the past four years running up millions of dollars in deficits while depleting the City’s fund balances to dangerous levels, even as City services and personnel were trimmed.    

Schmidt also vetoed several spending appropriations, most notably the ridiculous $200,000+/year, multi-year sweetheart contract for City Mgr. Jim Hock – vetoes which also were over-ridden by those same aldermen who seem never to have seen a taxpayer’s dollar they couldn’t spend.   

Schmidt earned his “Mayor No” reputation again this past Monday (June 6) night when he line-item vetoed approximately $275,000 of expenditures in the 2011-12 amended budget that was passed by the recently-seated City Council.  Schmidt asked this “new” Council to re-visit the 2011-12 budget after the previous Council summarily over-rode Schmidt’s line-item veto of approximately $650,000 of expenditures in the original 2011-12 budget, shortly before Jim Allegretti, Don Bach, Tom Carey, Robert Ryan and Frank Wsol fled City Hall without seeking re-election.

Schmidt’s latest veto message speaks for itself, and we encourage you to read it and think about it – because the principles and practices it advocates represent a new philosophy of City government that portends a dramatic departure from the irresponsible and profligate management of prior mayors and Councils. 

We hope at least three members of the new Council will exhibit the common sense and fiscal responsibility necessary to vote to sustain Schmidt’s veto at the Council meeting on June 20th, even though only Ald. Dan Knight (5th) displayed those qualities in casting the sole dissenting vote when this amended budget was passed two weeks ago.    

But no matter which way that vote goes, Park Ridge’s business as usual, big-government, tax-borrow-and-spend types now have a new nickname for their political adversary: 

“Mayor No.”

To read or post comments, click on title.

18 comments so far

Thank you, Mayor No.

Ditto Mayor No!

The Mayor’s latest veto message does speak for itself and shows the Mayor is not a budget hawk just a run of the mill ideologue. The last set of Aldermen voted over the Mayor and now the new set of Aldermen voted over the Mayor, except for his campaign manager Mr. Knight. It looks like the Mayor’s giant ego is blocking his view to seeing the possibility he is wrong about these budget items.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Did you miss the memo on the $315,000 of additional budget cuts the Mayor got “the new set of Aldermen” to approve? Or doesn’t that $315,000 conform to your alternate reality?

NO Thank You, Mayor

It’s about time someone said “no,” or at least invited aldermen to present some real rationale for spending beyond platitudes and pollyannish predictions.

I give the mayor credit as it does take courage to veto and to say ‘no’.

I would like the Mayor and Aldermann to get on the same page to move the City of Park Ridge forward.

Reduce the operating costs by $5.0 million (a little less than 10%). Cut services and jobs. Eliminate all studies for future projects. Stop playing around with shifting the numbers / funds. Solve the problem right now.

Will it be painful? Hell yes! Will voters be angry, absolutely. But if you fix the budget problems in the immediate timefram, the long term outlook will be much better for the entire community!

No place in this blog is there discussion of $315,000 in additional budget cuts. The Mayor’s memo only has one line in it about $315,000 in additional cuts. This blog is about the Mayor’s latest veto message and his trying again to get the new set of Aldermen to cut these budget items because they voted over the Mayor. I guess this blog doesn’t conform to your fantasy land talking points.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The “memo” was our shorthanded way of referring to the various information that appears on the City’s website, including the video and audio recordings, from which that $315,000 in cuts can be ascertained. We’re sorry if we confused you.

You blog about the latest veto message from the Mayor and the budget items he again wants to try to get the new set of Aldermen to cut. Then you lambaste someone blogging about those things and make cites that are not even on the blog. It looks like you are the confused one. I hope the Mayor takes the crazy advice here and tries to cut services and jobs. The voters could get mad enough to throw this Mayor out too. Then Park Ridge could get a chance to move forward.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Move forward” to what? The same business as usual that put Park Ridge in the financial mess it’s in?

Here is an interesting question. If you are one of the Aldermen who voted for the budget that the Mayor just partially vetoed, why would not vote to over ride his veto?? I mean nothing has changed.

Every Alderman was completely aware of the Mayor’s ideas about the role of government and these issues. They were certainly VERY aware of the Mayor’s position on the various community groups.

Considering all the available information and knowing the Mayors position, they accepted some of his suggested cuts and did not accept others.

There is not a single thing new in the Mayor’s latest veto message/lecture (nothing personal) that should cause any of these Aldermen to change their positions.

Why don’t you ask in an Editor’s Note to the person who blogged at 3:14 about moving forward?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because, unlike you, he/she described what he/she meant by that term: “Reduce the operating costs by $5.0 million (a little less than 10%). Cut services and jobs. Eliminate all studies for future projects. Stop playing around with shifting the numbers / funds. Solve the problem right now.”

Care to give it a try, Skeezix?

I said before I hope the Mayor takes that crazy advice. Moving forward does not mean going over the same lost ground and stomping your feet like a cry baby every time you do not get your way. That is what the Mayor does. It is time for the Mayor to realize the last set of Aldermen didn’t agree with him and the new set of Aldermen don’t agree with him, except for his campaign manager Mr. Knight. It is time to move forward with public business and not keep returning to things because the Mayor didn’t get his way.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like we said before, this mayor (with the help of this new Council) just saved the taxpayers $315,000. And like we asked before, where are your ideas for “moving forward”; or “moving forward with public business”?

I will interject briefly here. My sole focus is on the best interests of the taxpayers who are paying for this city government. Our laws give me certain powers which I can use to further those interests. One of those is veto power. If I do not use that power to further what I believe to be the best interests of the taxpayers, then I am not doing my job.

As was pointed out, I have worked well with the new Council, and together we have already achieved $315,000 in spending cuts in less than a month. I have thanked them for that effort, and I am now doing my best to convince them that we can make more cuts. There has been no kicking and screaming by anyone on either side of any issue. Just good healthy debate, which is a welcome departure from years past.

Whatever the aldermen do on June 20, we will all forge ahead and do the best we can to improve the budgeting process so we can become even more responsive to the taxpayers’ needs.

Mayor No, the size of your ego is stunning.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Care to provide the specific facts on which that observation is based, or is your own ego so huge that your opinions don’t require supporting facts?

mayor dave said his actions are what …”I believe to be the best interests of the taxpayers”

Scary thing about elected government officials is that sometimes belief systems are flawed. An austrian in 1933 was elected in germany and acted on what he “believed” was in the best interests of that country’s taxpayers.

That did not turn out so well for many people on so many levels.

Different scale: same principle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you sure you want to stick with this particular boneheaded analogy? Because we can’t seem to find any quotes or other evidence that Adolf Hitler (that is the “austrian” [sic] to whom you are referring, is it not?) ever took any official action –e.g., Kristallnacht, the invasion of Poland – expressly for the benefit of German “taxpayers.”

But maybe you should look into Josef Stalin?

I am glad Mayor Schmidt keeps making the effort to achieve the outcomes he believes in. I don’t know how successful he’ll be in persuading the new aldermen to cut the budget any further, but $300,000 in less than a month isn’t too shabby.

I am more bothered by what they do not address than what they do. Repeat after me….Spokesman!!! This gem costs, we the “struggling taxpayers” (it is now over $100 to fill up an Escalade!!), over 50 grand a year!!!!!

I am sorry but these are difficult times and we have a hell of a website. If someone does not have internet access they can use a computer at the library for free. There are also bulliten boards at city hall. The message from the Mayor is typically a repeat of what he has said at a council meeting or in a veto message.

There ya go Mayor. There is another 50K for ya!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re driving an Escalade, you either don’t need your share of the savings cancelling The Spokesman would bring, or you’re too dumb to deserve it.

But either way, you raise a good point that the Mayor and the Council should consider.

Actually I drive a tiny little Honda – getting 34 MPG. I was making reference to all the Escalades ,and Suburbans for that matter, I see driving around town with only the driver in the vehicle.

I am sorry you missed the irony, but I was juxtaposing the Mayor yammering on about the “struggling taxpayer” versus a lot of what I see in this town. By the way, I agree they are stupid.

Glad you like suggestion about the spokesman. I would bet there are many more out there just like it than can be cut (or other contracts that can be lowered – what are we paying ACME for all this resurfacing??). I would rather have the Mayor anc the council spend their time on these issues rather that this ongoing debate about community groups and the “role of government”.
One side or the other may win a round or two here and there but it does not solve the problem!!

We can now look forward to the annual month long back and forth about TOPR……is 3% good or bad?!?! Why not more…..AHHHHH!!!!! Meanwhile you can’t tell me there are not 100’s or thousands out there that can be harvested in cuts……..and the dance goes on!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Based on a variety of factors, including the number of homes that have been foreclosed on, are currently in foreclosure, or in “pre-foreclosure,” it sounds like there are a number of “struggling taxpayers” in Park Ridge…even if some of them might be struggling because they foolishly overextended themselves.

Understanding and achieving consensus on the “role of government” is essential to a consistent, predictable approach to dealing with ALL these various competing interests and expenses that for too long have been “resolved” on an ad hoc, often inconsistent “win a round or two here and there” basis. That’s not only bad policy, but it’s inefficient and tends to create ill will.

As for TOPR, there wouldn’t be any debate about “3%” (or any other percent) if Taste Inc. simply shut itself down and its “volunteer” operators chose to do exactly what they’ve been doing for the past 6 years, except for the City’s coffers instead of for Taste Inc.’s. If the City saved $50K on The Spokesman and picked up another $50K profit on TOPR, there’s that first $100K net you’re talking about.

You talk or this consensus being essential. Do you believe we have ever had said consensus?? Do you believe we have it now??? Please!!!

I will grant you the city voted for Schmidt over Frimark (duh!!!), but since then the Mayor (and you for that matter) have been hammering this role of government drum like crazy and with what result?? Look at the last election. All this role of government talk (and what ever was attempted to recruit candidates behind the scenes) yielded how many candidates??? Beyond that, of these new Aldermen civic minded enough to run for office (not hand picked by Frimark) all but one still wanted to give the moolah to the community groups!!!! So where is the concensus??? If anything it would appear that the consensus might be that money going to community groups is not a big problem.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The lack of a “role of government” consensus is why we’ve got the catch-as-catch-can kind of government we’ve got – not only at City Hall, but with the school districts and the park district locally; and with Crook County and State government as well.

As for there being some kind of “consensus…that money going to community groups is not a big problem,” we have seen no evidence – in the form of Council meeting minutes or videos – that establishes compliance, by former City Councils or the current one, with the procedures and determinations required for public funding of private organizations under City Council Policy No. 6. Hence we have no way of knowing what kind of “consensus” actually exists.

Which makes the City’s community group donations nothing more than arbitrary giveaways of tax dollars which violate the Council’s own policies, even if only the mayor and one alderman appear to grasp that relatively simple and straightforward concept at this time.



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