Oops! Didn't notice the comment above me basically says the same thing.
Please! People show more thigh at the local walmart!
Seq- interesting arguments. Nathan Nickolaus used to be the City Attorney, so I'm sure he thought before he hit send.
You are correct that Nathan couldn't predict with exact certainty how much money could be freed up. Pope can't be 100% certain of his point, either. However the information that Nathan provided was most likely based on reports from City staff members which were not unreasonable for him to rely upon. By the way, the 40K that could potentially be saved was an estimate for the 2013 budget year only.
In regard to your statements about government employee speech, I understand why you might be inclined to view the email as advocacy. However, the legal issues aren't all cut and dried. Under Missouri law interpreting the statute you referenced, a public official may disseminate factual information about a ballot measure. Mr. Nickolaus did not tell city employees how to vote. He spoke simply in terms of facts. Additionally, if you believe his statements in the newspaper, the City has a past practice of allowing such speech.
This nonsense about firing Nathan Nickolaus is absurd. Read Nathan’s email before you judge him. It appears from the email that Nathan has common sense and cares about making sure that Jefferson City functions properly. He is not a fool, nor is he in the city council’s pocket; otherwise Mr. Pope might not be so eager to fire him.
Nathan’s email was merely written to inform city employees about Proposition 2. First, Nathan pointed out the elephant in the room- the City has a funding problem. The City simply cannot continue to properly fund its departments, including the Fire Department, without an increase in the amount of money the City brings in. As Nathan wisely noted, the council is committed to improvements, but without funding, those improvements will only increase competition for the limited resources the City currently has. Nathan then correctly pointed out that Proposition 2 would have benefited the City Fire Department by providing them with new equipment, training, and advanced life support equipment. He then noted that the tax would free up some general funds for use in other city departments.
Bryan Pope was upset with Nathan’s email simply because, in his opinion, even if Proposition 2 passed, the Fire Department would still need funds from the general revenue. However, as Fire Department spokesman Jason Turner correctly pointed out in the article, the passage of the tax could “potentially free up $40,500 from the training, tuition and buildings and grounds budgets….” Although it was Mr. Turner’s wish that that freed up money be allocated to public safety departments, there is no denying that the money would, in fact, be freed up. Perhaps it is Mr. Pope, not Mr. Nickolaus, who “does not understand finance.”
Even if you think that the City doesn’t need more money, and that the problem is the misuse of the City’s general funds, Nathan is not to blame. The city council and the mayor are. According to the city charter, the city administrator recommends a budget to the mayor, the mayor makes changes to the budget, and the city council amends and approves the budget. In other words, the city council and the mayor have the final say in the allocation of general funds to city departments. If you have a problem with the way Jefferson City spends its money, I suggest that you attend the City’s budget meetings and voice your opinion.
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