After reading Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten’s online letter…manifesto… to the editor, I will respond to the sheer idiocy that she is espousing. Property negotiations are handled in closed session per state law, not because elected officials are trying to hide anything. In the case of the City Annex purchase, the council followed the law.
What went wrong in the process was that the direction given to staff by the council to have the building inspected was ignored. When asked, had the inspections taken place and what were the results, the council was told yes, and the building was fine. All members of council, past and present should be concerned with the misleading of the elected body to yield a desired result. That is the issue at hand.
How does this flagrant act of disregard for council direction not warrant an investigation? This is a case of administrative insubordination. Remember, we had the city manager and the city attorney leading the negotiation process on the City’s behalf. That you and the “Mayor” cannot recognize your duty in the matter is no surprise. It is difficult to manage people and hold them accountable when all you really seek is your own popularity and status. It is not about the “title,” it is about the commitment.
This is a tough job, and at times you will have to make tough decisions. To carry on and on about closed session as the root cause of the problem illustrates that she lacks a basic understanding of municipal government. Rather than reverting back to her pre-council cheerleading mantra, she has the council seat, and the responsibility that comes with the oath of office: to acknowledge and mitigate the issues that face the entire community. I suggest she gets busy. This includes correcting the root cause, not ignoring it and saying I told you so.
In closing, how can you ever hope to not repeat the past when you lack the ability to comprehend fundamental processes and refuse to acknowledge the causation and address it accordingly? Oh, and by the way, Ms. Lustgarten has been in property negotiations regarding a city land purchase for months now without protesting her own actions. By all means Sheree, fill us in.
Annette Smith, Former city councilwoman