I applaud the City Council for responding to my concerns about our paying $35,000 per signature to our engineering consultants, Urban Logic, by hiring a non-consultant City Manager. I think it makes sense, and is something I called for earlier this year, to replace consultants with paid staff positions. This has the potential for significant tax payer savings and should remove what I believe is a conflict of interest with consultants personally gaining from their recommendations.
My fear is this may be what Council Woman Brenda Knight meant when she told us the Council was working to modernize the Urban Logic relationship. If you look at the job description, you will find a specific, highly specialized list of requirements, easily filled by our current Urban Logic engineer. Here is a link to the job listing: http://www.ci.beaumont.ca.us/jobs.aspx?jobID=37.
I am worried that the two week window for accepting applications for a position that is so important to the future of our community is too short to find a number of qualified candidates from which to chose.
The City Manager has told us he is planning $344,000,000 in infrastructure projects that will completely change the face and structure of our community. Why are we having a two week window for accepting applications in the middle of the holiday season for a position that will affect everyone of us and the future for our families? I fear this is a qualification of minimum legal requirements to prove the City has opened the position to the engineering industry.
This position has the potential to significantly reduce the City's spending. Even if we paid the new City Engineer a competitive salary, we will be saving money. Why not allow more time for the administration to perform an extensive statewide or nationwide search and attract successful City Engineer candidates from other cities. I believe two weeks will result in only one applicant, our current City Engineer. He may be the most qualified person for the position but if that is the case, he shouldn't be concerned by the competition. There is nothing preventing the Council from selecting the Urban Logic engineer as the City Manager; of course he will be required to end his relationship with Urban Logic.
Our City has been deficit spending for some years now and I welcome the Council's apparent move to cut costs. But, they have been satisfied with the Urban Logic engineer for twenty years, what's the rush to fill such an important position?
What we don't need is to modernize our expensive relationship with our consultants by increasing the tax payers' unfunded pension liabilities for generations without a proper and extensive search. If the ultimate decision is to stay with the current engineer from Urban Logic, it will be in the best interest of tax payers and our children's future to leave the current relationship in place. We may be paying too much for each signature, maybe that can be re-negotiated, but we won't have to commit our community to more long term pension liability we are already having trouble meeting.
Regardless of who gets the job, two weeks is too short.