Publisher's Note: Who’s the boss?
By Jody Reese
A federally funded community assistance program in Manchester, VISTA, was bilked out of $23,000 over the course of a year, according to an independent city auditor.
The auditor alleges that the program’s coordinator was able to steal the money because no one was watching what he was doing. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen moved the program to Mayor Frank Guinta’s budget, but the mayor says his staff never took control of the program, leaving the coordinator without any oversight.
This is an issue all local governments should be watching closely. Financial processes must include oversight. In Manchester’s case, we must wonder why the mayor’s office didn’t think it was their responsibility to oversee the coordinator if the money was part of their budget. The auditor’s report doesn’t single out the mayor’s office or any department, but why didn’t anyone ask who is this coordinator’s boss and who should be signing off on these expenses?
I get the sense that everyone said “It’s not my problem. The coordinator doesn’t work for me.” Surely this raises the question of how well Manchester’s city government is managed. What else is falling through the managerial cracks?
Gregg dislikes budget
U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg ripped into President George Bush’s $3 trillion budget, which sets record deficits. And these guys are in the same party and friendly. Just as the state must make some hard decisions, the federal government must too. The continued accumulation of debt means we are simply passing on tax increases to future taxpayers.
Gregg is right. We need to get spending under control. At the same time neither can we cut taxes. A balance must be struck and that means hard decisions.
Hard choices in Concord
It looks like the state will come up at least $50 million short in revenue raised. That’s coupled with slowing in the housing market and expectations of a budget meltdown this summer. There are really only two things that can happen: less spending or more taxes and fees — or maybe a combination.
As much as we’d like to see services continue or increase and taxes decline, you can’t get something for nothing.
The legislature and governor should come together in a nonpartisan commission to prioritize the state’s government responsibilities. That will help them decide what services will have to be eliminated or reduced. It’ll be no fun, but that’s why we elect people.
Schools losing federal cash
The federal government is severely cutting funding to transport special needs students to school. Given the huge federal deficit spending, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The federal government will shift costs to the state and it in turn will shift costs to local governments. Local governments too will have to scale back the services they offer. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a tough couple of years.