Hershey column: Setting the City Hall record straight
In response to Ms. Trauger’s column (PI 8/28/19,) it is important for the public to know the truth. While never called out specifically by name, Ms. Trauger’s column not so subtly attacks my attempts to improve our city’s financial decision-making, and council’s relationship with staff.
As Paul Harvey used to say, there is always: “the rest of the story.”
First, 10 days after former Chief Wilson’s updated resignation date, Aug. 29, the city manager provided myself and the rest of council with a copy of his updated resignation letter.
After reviewing the letter, I am disappointed it was withheld from council, especially since it is factually inaccurate and was the first formal indication former Chief Wilson was angry with council.
Still, I agreed with the release of the letter so as to ensure transparency. To set the record straight: in my capacity as a city councilperson I received some complaints from city employees about their work environment. As with any personnel issue, I referred those employees to the city manager and the HR director.
Proper procedures were followed. I have the utmost respect for former Chief Wilson. I thank him for his service, and wish him luck in the future.
Next, as Ms. Trauger should know the city’s budget is not completed until next month. The newly elected council has yet to finalize its first budget.
While I can’t speak for other members of City council, I have made it very clear that our highest priority spending should be for infrastructure as well as fire and police protection. I will continue fighting to ensure our taxpayers dollars are spent on streets, not million dollar beautification projects.
I will continue to fight to reallocate public funds in ways that actually help the people who live here. Despite the hurdles, we have made some progress undoing the disasters created by previous councils. I have worked with city staff and others to ensure we start fixing the streets now; for example, take a look at Pitkin, Bennett, Blake and other streets in town.
It’s a slow process, but it’s vital we spend money on all of our streets, not just a $7.5 million pet project street that we can’t even drive on for fear of ruin.
How dare Ms. Trauger accuse anyone of lack of transparency? As she knows, I had to file a Colorado Open Records Act request just to find out how many millions her city council was planning to waste on Seventh Street. It was these millions of dollars Trauger helped approve that went to a financial boondoggle instead of fixing our failing infrastructure.
And, it was Ms. Trauger’s pro-tax committee that took 10s of thousands of dollars from contractors for a campaign to raise our street tax and didn’t tell folks until after they voted.
Finally, attacking this council shows incredible hubris after Ms. Trauger failed in her attempt to raise taxes to fix her mistakes. The people have made it clear: focus our money on things that matter, not superfluous spending. As a result, I have been critical of projects we can’t afford, and in favor of street-based infrastructure projects.
As I said during the campaign, we are going to fix our streets and ensure no more money is wasted on self-serving projects the people do not want or need.
As always, if any resident of Glenwood wants to talk, my door is open and my phone is on. I serve at the will of the people, and I am doing my darnedest to fulfill my promises.
Whatever your opinion or perspective, you are welcome to come to City Hall: the council meets every first and third Thursday, and it would be my honor to listen to you.
Tony Hershey is a current member of Glenwood Springs City Council.
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After opposing Proposition 114, the 2020 wolf reintroduction initiative that passed by a whopping 1%, I had reservations about dressing down another budding ballot measure.