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2014-01-09

- My View - City council - don't miss this one, folks!

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The best show in town will begin at 6 pm, Thursday, Jan. 9, at 511 Main Street when the monthly meeting of Bandera City Council convenes - and, best of all, the entertainment is free.
City council members are set to tackle agenda items spanning the depth and breadth of the municipality - all one square mile and 857 citizens of it.
The evening's fun kicks off with an executive session designed to create job descriptions for all city office positions, including the proposed here-today-gone-tomorrow city administrator - more about this later - city secretary and utility clerk. For those of you who thought job descriptions had already been discussed ad nauseum, you were apparently working under a misconception - as was I.
Also, the secret executive session will cover "possible reassignment of duties." Well, depending on the outcome, it wouldn't be the first time a city administrator took on the duties of utility clerk, would it?
Next, council moves on to newly minted Councilman Suzanne Schauman's agenda item to remove and store all playground equipment in City Park until it can be "relocated and installed according to US Consumer Product Safety." Of course, the equipment's removal and storage might be the last we'll see of the five educational playstations that feature music, butterflies, spiders and bugs, bees and flowers and nature and trees purchased and installed to the tune of $30K. However, I'm a cynic and could be wrong.
An ancillary item, placed on the agenda by newly minted Councilman Glenn "Where did she get the idea I'm running for city council?" Clark, is entitled simply "Improperly installed and improperly located playground equipment in Bandera City Park." I guess we could count among our lucky stars that no one has been electrocuted yet.
Clark also wants to review a city ordinance that covers issuing temporary and seasonal business permits. I hope this isn't singling out Rick Anderson and his beleaguered barbecue business 'cause, after all, his permit is up for renewal. Anyone care to give me the over-under on whether that gets renewed? I didn't think so.
Additionally, Clark and newly minted Councilman Nita Jenkins both want to add GPS units to all city-owned vehicles. Rumor has it this is to track vehicles used by the public works department, but - so as not to play favorites - GPS units will also have to be installed in vehicles assigned to the city marshal's department. This proposal was voted down once before, but now, of course, there's a whole new roster of councilmen with money to burn apparently.
Excuse me if I was a little confused about agenda item F, which concerns buzzard problems in the city. At first reading, I thought it was referring to the BMX Bandera Buzzards. You know, the youth group that created bike trails in City Park. I was wrong, however.
Apparently City Administrator Mike Cardenas is worried about the kind with feathers, feet, claws and beaks. As someone pointed out, however, as long as you have deer, you're going to have buzzards. Are these birds protected in the State of Texas?
Next up are de rigueur discussions of the Dollar General Store project; budget amendments, which could be interesting; and an informational presentation about a sidewalk proposal by the Economic Development Corporation. The latter item is particularly interesting because I wasn't aware that the EDC had received the sidewalk proposal from the planning and zoning commission as yet. Perhaps I missed that special called meeting of EDC.
Then comes a cray, cray, cray item concerning the reassignment of the city administrator back to the public works department from whence Cardenas sprang lo these many months - years!? - ago. Despite repeatedly recorded assurances from Mayor Don Clark that "Mike is doing a great job" and "We work real well together," veteran Councilman Jim Hannah apparently thinks otherwise as he placed this item on the agenda.
A supplementary item, "Seek Applications for position of City Administrator and hold a workshop concerning review of such applicants as to experience, duties and salary," was requested by the governing trifecta of Hannah, Glenn Clark and Jenkins.
Now that triptych of councilmen also bears comment. Do you suppose all three submitted the same agenda item separately or was a bit of collusion - in the form of a violation of the Open Meetings Act - going on. My guess is we'll never know.
Finally, Hannah proposed to "reaffirm the Municipal Governing Body for of (huh?) Government as prescribed under Local Government Code Chapter 22 - and change to Ordinance." I don't know what this means, except perhaps to assign more authority to mayor and less to the next city administrator - unless they're one and the same, but that couldn't happen, could it? Should it?
Would it? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Actually, the only thing that didn't make it to Thursday's agenda was a rumored proposal to disband municipal court. Perhaps council felt it would be the right thing to do to wait until the city judge returned from vacation before giving her and the court clerk the sack!
Aside from all this dismantling, the current administration has inaugurated something positive. They purchased accordion doors to separate the municipal building into two sections for simultaneous business. Oh, wait, I'm sorry. The doors couldn't be installed and are now just gathering dust. Or, as someone in the know said recently, "Don't ask about the doors."
Meanwhile, I'll save you a front seat for this eve's political "Hunger Games" if you'd like.