Knight and his council allies hurt Cornelius fiscal health
- Norbert Chartrey, Ralph Brown And Bill Bash
- Forest Grove News-Times - Opinion
Mayor Knight and Councilors Gottwald and Minshall have not been transparent at all.
In a recent newspaper article, Mayor Neal Knight states he has fought for fiscal responsibility.
You can look at the Cornelius City Council minutes and see that Mayor Knight has shown very little interest in Cornelius, financial health or giving city staff any direction.
You can look at the Cornelius Budget Committee minutes and again find little to no direction from the mayor about the Cornelius city budget. Mayor Knight has never given any information about any communities that are the size of Cornelius in Oregon whose budgets are smaller than Cornelius.
It is up to the mayor and city council to give staff direction through council goals. Team 3 discussed goals for several meetings, put them on the agenda and then voted them down. This does not sound very responsible. When asked at a budget meeting how much should be cut, Councilor Mari Gottwald voted for a motion to reduce the general fund by $55,000. Mayor Knight said nothing. He could have asked for a greater cut, but did not. Former City Manager David Waffle created a budget with this cut and gave several choices as to how to reduce the general fund fee. We all know what happened; they fired the city manager for not following their direction.
Mayor Knight, Councilors Jaime Minshall and Gottwald have demanded that staff find volunteers to run the graffiti removal machine. The staff has tried with no success, but that is not good enough. These councilors could have helped the staff by volunteering and finding others to help. They have had over six months to do so but have not stepped up.
The sharing fire chief with Forest Grove started with the previous council and Mayor Knight has continued it. Using the police chief as acting city manager has many expenses that Mayor Knight is unaware of, including overtime by other police staff trying to cover the police chief's work when he is acting as city manager. This has also tired out the police department and the busy season is about to start. This mayor is shockingly unaware of these large expenses.
To spend more money the city does not have and to tell this community that it will cost $10,000 when it may cost over $100,000 is not fair to this community. Currently, the scope is so broad and undefined that it could be even more.
Mayor Knight has not been given authority by the city council to review city codes. So what is going on here? Who is messing up the Urban Reserves process? It is the mayor, acting outside of his role and representing the city when he did not have authority by the city council to do so.
The previous council did a review of the city manager and again agreed that he is doing outstanding work. We moved his severance pay in line with other city managers.
The current city council could have reviewed his work effort and if they found it lacking they could have reduced the severance pay. The current council did not do so. It is amazing how little responsibility they take for their actions.
Mayor Knight and Councilors Gottwald and Minshall have not been transparent at all. We do not know why they fired the city manager, we do not know why they fired our attorney, we do not know why they did not pass their goals to give staff direction (they are blaming staff for lack of direction) and they do not explain their actions when they do vote.
It is interesting that with the mayor's lack of effort in fiscal responsibility and transparency that he feels he is doing a good enough job not to be recalled. This shows lack of knowledge, inability to take responsibility, and a lack of understanding on how to run a complex governing body, which after over six months are good reasons to be recalled.
- Norbert Chartrey, Ralph Brown and Bill Bash have all served as mayor of Cornelius.