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Southsider2k12
post Feb 2 2009, 07:49 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=31562.94

QUOTE
The city council's new battle plan

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - Like Knights of the Round Table, Michigan City Common Council members convened Thursday evening at the round table in the Mayor's Conference Room to create a battle plan for attacking some of the city's most pressing issues.

Council President Bob McKee asked each council member to put on the table their top three issues. From that, consensus was reached on seven key categories to cover the issues.

The council's first priority is to form a task force made up of the nine council members and nine individuals from the community recruited by the council. The task force will be asked to work in subcommittees that will review all aspects of city government - city budgets, boards and commissions, use of buildings, city-owned properties - to identify what McKee called "efficiencies of operation."

"Everything is on the table," McKee said. "We'll look at everything to see if it can be more efficient. Business does this all the time. Government needs to do that."

Ultimately, the task force report will become a working document when the council and mayor meet to formulate the 2010 city budget. Oberlie has already asked department heads to come up with plans to lop off 10 percent of their operating costs.

The task force is expected to come together in February and complete its work by June, in time for the beginning of the city's budgeting cycle.

A new concept, tentatively called "Coffee with the Council," will bring city council members into each of the six wards to listen to residents' concerns. The meetings will take place once a month, beginning in March in the 1st Ward.

The Issues
Besides empowering a task force, the council agreed to tackle issues in the following areas:

•Michigan Boulevard - redeveloping a new city corridor that creates a strong positive impact, and identifying ways to fund visual improvement to housing and businesses along the revamped boulevard.

•Neighborhood parks - expand summer camps and activities into neighborhood parks so all children will have access to enrichment programs.

•South Shore Railroad - maintain forward momentum from cost-benefit analysis being done on three optional locations for the commuter rail line and push for long-term development.

•Federal and state grants - identify ways to position the city to get grants for resource development; the city qualifies for funds on multiple fronts but has not pursued outside funding as aggressively as areas of Lake and Porter counties.

•Planning and zoning - clarify and enforce codes, and conduct a comprehensive review of code ordinances.

•NIPSCO and prison - work on a long-range plan to remove NIPSCO and Indiana State Prison from their current locations, and create a common vision for the corridor from Washington Park to Franklin Square.

-Laurie Wink
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Southsider2k12
post Feb 2 2009, 12:18 PM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...ArticleID=20722

QUOTE
City efficiency
Mayor, council want task force

Editorial

If the City Council's battle plan to address the city's major issues sounds familiar, it may be because it's a lot like Mayor Chuck Oberlie's State of the City address Jan. 20. In that annual report, the mayor called for a task force of citizens and the City Council to study ways to make city operations more efficient.

When the council met in a workshop session Thursday under Council President Bob McKee, it set as its first priority creating a task force of all nine council members and nine members of the public to study city government.

Oberlie was at that meeting, and afterward was asked whether the council is talking about a different task force than his. He said, "It appears that it might."

He also said he hopes the council includes the administration in the discussions, since both his and the council's goals appear to be "in sync."

But it appears that McKee and the council may be trying to make a little political hay out of what is an immensely important challenge for city government - finding ways to make it more efficient at a time when tax revenue is declining.

So while the mayor is talking about possibly merging departments, boards and commissions, ironically the city council may be pushing for a rival task force to study government efficiency.

Well, in the interests of efficiency, the city needs one, not two groups studying ways to reform city government, and the council and administration should be working together.

If the various players want to play politics along the way, it should not be at the disadvantage of the public. It won't do to have the fundamental re-examination of how city services are delivered get launched under a cloud cast by various political agendas. Such reform is bound to get tangled up in politics as they go along. At least at the start, the mayor and council should huddle on creating one task force.

Our Opinion:
The Issue:

Just after Mayor Oberlie called for a task force, the council did the same.

Our Opinion::

Let's make sure we get together

on this study.
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Southsider2k12
post Feb 5 2009, 11:00 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=43365.65

QUOTE
Council: More cuts needed to be made

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - The City Council aims to contain costs and make operations more efficient this year, and they took city administrators to task for failing to act on their recommendation to cut $500,000 from the 2009 budget.

The criticism came at Tuesday's council meeting when board President Bob McKee presented the council's comments on Mayor Chuck Oberlie's 2009 State of the City address.

The council, in conjunction with the mayor, is developing a joint task force to look at cost-saving measures for the city. Community members will be included among the task-force members.

"We view this as a team effort between the council, the administration and the citizenry," McKee said in his remarks. "It is imperative that we thoroughly examine how we do business as a city, on all fronts, across all department and budgetary lines."

Besides drawing on insights from community members on the task force, the council will take the pulse of neighborhood residents by holding open forums in each of the city's six wards beginning in March. The council believes these "coffee with the council" meetings will provide opportunities to exchange ideas and give a voice to those who find it difficult to speak at council meetings.
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Dave
post Feb 5 2009, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE
Besides drawing on insights from community members on the task force, the council will take the pulse of neighborhood residents by holding open forums in each of the city's six wards beginning in March. The council believes these "coffee with the council" meetings will provide opportunities to exchange ideas and give a voice to those who find it difficult to speak at council meetings.


Any interest in scheduling CBTL get-togethers #3 through 8? biggrin.gif
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lovethiscity
post Feb 5 2009, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE(southsider2k9 @ Feb 5 2009, 11:00 AM) *

Civic lesson #1
City Council, the fiscal body in city government. Has the DUTY to not only suggest a trim in the budget. It is up to the City Council to make the cut. The council, blaming the mayor for using the budget the Bob McKee led council passed is foolish.

Common sense lesson #1
Move the start time up on the City Council meetings, make grandiose stand on not performing council duties while blaming others. Then acts like a hero with a stunt, "bring the council to those that have a hard time speaking at council meetings." Because they changed the time? Move the start time back and I will go to where the meetings are recorded and documented.

Where is accountability?
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edgeywood
post Feb 6 2009, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE(lovethiscity @ Feb 5 2009, 08:27 PM) *

Civic lesson #1
City Council, the fiscal body in city government. Has the DUTY to not only suggest a trim in the budget. It is up to the City Council to make the cut. The council, blaming the mayor for using the budget the Bob McKee led council passed is foolish.

Common sense lesson #1
Move the start time up on the City Council meetings, make grandiose stand on not performing council duties while blaming others. Then acts like a hero with a stunt, "bring the council to those that have a hard time speaking at council meetings." Because they changed the time? Move the start time back and I will go to where the meetings are recorded and documented.

Where is accountability?


What he said.

I'll add that "developing a joint task force to look at cost-saving measures for the city" is another waste of time.
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lovethiscity
post Feb 9 2009, 02:00 AM
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QUOTE(Dave @ Feb 5 2009, 04:27 PM) *

Any interest in scheduling CBTL get-togethers #3 through 8? biggrin.gif

Yes, only not part of the silly circle. We should become CBTL Citizens government watch committee.
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Southsider2k12
post Mar 5 2009, 01:28 PM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...&TM=52094.7

QUOTE
19 members comprise task force

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - A new Local Advisory Task Force on Governmental Efficiency has been formed with 19 volunteer members from the public.

City Council President Bob McKee made the announcement at Tuesday's meeting.

Councilman Marc Espar, 2nd Ward, will coordinate the task force. Espar chairs the council's finance committee and said the idea of forming an advisory group emerged as the committee grappled with evaluating the city's budget and identifying possible ways of pruning expenses.

Espar and finance committee members Phil Jankowski and Rich Murphy want to tap the information and experience of community members as they consider the current and future budget proposals from Mayor Chuck Oberlie.

The members of the Local Advisory Task Force on Governmental Efficiency are:

• Timothy J. Haas.

• Dan Carabine.

• Joe Coar.

• John P. Morse.

• Dale L. Brown.

• Richard Blank.

• Edward Lysaught.

• Keith Harris.

• James LaRocco.

• Jay Niec.

• Jim Jaksa.

• George Kazmierczak.

• John W. Boehnlein Jr.

• Jason L. Miller.

• Patricia Turk.

• Sam S. Melnick.

• Timothy Bietry.

• Don L. Babcock.

• Beryle Burgwald.

The participants will be divided into seven subcommittees, each facilitated by a city council member. The tentative subcommittees are:

• Buildings, Grounds Maintenance, Disposition, Acquisition and Use.

• 2nd vs. 3rd Class City Status and Annexation.

• Police, Fire and Emergency Management.

• Parks and Port Operations.

• Departments, Boards and Commissions and Grant Procurement.

• Central Maintenance.

• Human Resources and Information Technology.


The organizational meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. March 10 in the City Hall Council Chambers.


Contact Laurie Wink at lwink@thenewsdispatch.com.
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Southsider2k12
post Mar 5 2009, 01:32 PM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...ArticleID=21452

QUOTE
City efficiency
Task force to study government

Editorial

The idea of governmental efficiency being explored by a 19-member committee reminds us of the old joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. But the fact is, committees can accomplish a lot of good work, and every organization can benefit from some close study of its efficiency.

Thus, the City Council's idea to have a task force study city government for efficiencies is a laudable project.

City Council President Bob McKee announced the creation of the Local Advisory Task Force on Governmental Efficiency Tuesday. It will consist of 19 members of the public who volunteered to serve. The committee is packed with people with impressive resumes. These are people who are knowledgeable about both city government and how private business runs. Bringing to government the kinds of efficiencies businesses must adopt to survive will be good medicine for Michigan City government.

We are hopeful the task force can suggest some changes that will reduce city expenses at a time when revenue is declining. If this succeeds, the community will owe them a debt of gratitude for having stepped forward to tackle what will not be an easy job. Rooting out inefficiencies can easily offend some officeholders and/or city employees.

Perhaps the only fault with the make-up of the task force is that many are too close to the established order and might be reluctant to endorse sweeping changes.

The task force members will be divided into seven subcommittees to study all areas of city government. Each committee will work with a member of the City Council. Indeed, rethinking the basics of city government is long overdue, and any thorough look at the city's operations surely will yield some savings.

It's good that the City Council is taking a proactive approach to city government because one of the duties of the council is to act on budget proposals of Mayor Chuck Oberlie.

Our Opinion:
The Issue:

Nineteen volunteers will examine all aspects of city government.

Our Opinion:

Some toes might get stepped on but rooting out inefficiencies is crucial.
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Homey
post Mar 5 2009, 02:35 PM
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Maybe the "committee" could take a que from CBTL. We've had some pretty good ideas where to cut the fat out of our city government.

I believe the Mayor has sub-committees made up of city department heads to brainstorm ideas to improve services. So, all of the leg work should be done and documented...now, who decides how to act on the ideas.

I hope we see quicker action take place. It shouldn't take moving mountains to make some major, smart and efficient cuts. There will be hard feelings, complaints and people out to protect their department or territory, but for the sharper, realistic minds, this has to be done and done fast.



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Southsider2k12
post Mar 5 2009, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE(Homey @ Mar 5 2009, 02:35 PM) *

Maybe the "committee" could take a que from CBTL. We've had some pretty good ideas where to cut the fat out of our city government.

I believe the Mayor has sub-committees made up of city department heads to brainstorm ideas to improve services. So, all of the leg work should be done and documented...now, who decides how to act on the ideas.

I hope we see quicker action take place. It shouldn't take moving mountains to make some major, smart and efficient cuts. There will be hard feelings, complaints and people out to protect their department or territory, but for the sharper, realistic minds, this has to be done and done fast.


Well there is at least one CBTL member in that group, so we have someone who is at least hearing our voice. Congrats on making the group Mr Harris, do us proud! smile.gif
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Homey
post Mar 5 2009, 02:39 PM
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Oh, I wanted to comment on the list packed with impressive resumes. Most of these are chums of the Mayor, and some of the Council. The "list" shouldn't surprise anyone. So glad to see new blood involved (cough, cough) !!!!!! smile.gif


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Homey
post Mar 5 2009, 02:42 PM
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You were quicker than I here smile.gif

An exception...yes, Kharris....do us proud. We can count on you to keep us up to date on how it's going!!!


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Southsider2k12
post Mar 5 2009, 02:46 PM
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QUOTE(Homey @ Mar 5 2009, 02:42 PM) *

You were quicker than I here smile.gif

An exception...yes, Kharris....do us proud. We can count on you to keep us up to date on how it's going!!!


There are a few other notable non-insider names on that list, such as Beryle Burgwald and James LaRocco. I haven't seen Mr. LaRocco's name come up since the election, so I am glad to see him being active if he is still considering running again in 2011.
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Homey
post Mar 6 2009, 01:06 PM
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I can see Beryle Burgwald being involved. Afterall, he is in support of the Mayor's 3rd class city suggestion. And LaRocco, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. I think they'll wait and see how bright a light he can become. If he flounders, it will be an ace in the hole.

Dubious thoughts. But you have to see a broader picture. smile.gif


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Southsider2k12
post Mar 6 2009, 01:18 PM
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QUOTE(Homey @ Mar 6 2009, 01:06 PM) *

I can see Beryle Burgwald being involved. Afterall, he is in support of the Mayor's 3rd class city suggestion. And LaRocco, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. I think they'll wait and see how bright a light he can become. If he flounders, it will be an ace in the hole.

Dubious thoughts. But you have to see a broader picture. smile.gif


I suppose we will all see in due time. There are some names on there that I don't recognize at all, so I can't categorize them, but I do see plenty of names of respected community members on that list. I am going to assume their intentions are good until I learn otherwise.
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Homey
post Mar 6 2009, 01:34 PM
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I think we all will be on the same page as far as the hope for good intentions. I'm keeping my fingers crossed smile.gif


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Southsider2k12
post Mar 11 2009, 11:49 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=50106.27

QUOTE
Task force breaks into subcommittees

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - The 19 members of the newly-formed Local Advisory Task Force on Governmental Efficiency wasted no time in getting down to business in subcommittee meetings Tuesday night.

Following opening remarks by Mayor Chuck Oberlie and City Council President Bob McKee about organizational aspects and goals, the members divided into the following subgroups:

• Buildings, Grounds Maintenance, Disposition, Acquisition and Use: Bob McKee, Willie Milsap, Joe Coar, Richard Blank, Jim Jaksa.

• 2nd vs. 3rd Class City Status and Annexation: Ron Meer, Beryle Burgwald, James LaRocco, John W. Boehnlein Jr., Betty Lou Nault.

• Police, Fire and Emergency Management: Angie Nelson, John P. Morse, Jay Niec, Donald Przybylinski.

• Parks and Port Operations: Joe Doyle, Timothy J. Haas, George Kazmierczak, Sam S. Melnick, Evelyn Baker.

• Departments, Boards and Commissions and Grant Procurement: Pat Boy, Richard Murphy, Jason L. Miller, Don L. Babcock, Jan Kostielney.

• Central Maintenance: Marc Espar, Joe Doyle, Dan Carabine, Dale L. Brown, Edward Lysaught.

• Human Resources and Information Technology: Phil Jankowski, Keith Harris, Timothy Bietry, Patricia Turk.

Councilman Marc Espar will be the contact person for all the subcommittees and coordinate work by the task force. Espar chairs the council's finance committee, and the task force was formed to assist the council and mayor with making budgetary decisions that will increase local government efficiency.

The timeline calls for the whole group to reconvene April 28 for a status meeting, and to complete the final report June 11.
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Southsider2k12
post Apr 13 2009, 09:45 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=42203.22

QUOTE
Task force meeting scheduled
MICHIGAN CITY - A status meeting of the Local Advisory Task Force on Governmental Efficiency and Asset Management and Utilization is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the City Hall Council Chambers.

The meeting was announced by Councilman Marc Espar, who is serving as coordinator of the overall effort. Following opening remarks by Mayor Chuck Oberlie and Espar, each subcommittee will give progress reports.

At the organizational session on March 11, the 19 members of the task force were assigned to one of seven subcommittees and selected a chair for each. The subcommittees are:

• Buildings, Grounds Maintenance, Disposition, Acquisition and Use.

• Second vs. Third Class City Status and Annexation.

• Police, Fire, and Emergency Management.

• Parks and Port Operations.

• Departments, Boards and Commissions and Grant Procurement.

• Central Maintenance.

• Human Resources and Information Technology.

The meeting will conclude with the identification of next steps. The task force is scheduled to present a final report to Oberlie and the council finance committee on June 11.
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