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City Council Pressing for Answers on Siding Settlement is Encouraging [OPINION]


Several city councilors want Mayor Mike Huether’s administration make a presentation and answer questions about the once-secret-now-public settlement over the Premier Center siding.

That will happen at the council’s Tuesday informational meeting at 4 p.m. You can watch that live on Channel 16 on Midco cable system.

I’m encouraged that the council is pressing for answers. It doesn’t really matter whether they agree with the terms of the deal or not – or whether it’s $1 million or not – it’s that councilors should be able to get answers to the questions.

For instance: We still don’t know when the panels will need to be replaced. The administration says there is not plan to do so but what’s the actual prospect for longer-term replacement?

When this all started, the city hired a specialist to figure out what happened and what to do. That report was never released. But what exactly does it say?

Councilor Theresa Stehly says she has questions, all of which seem legit.

  • Why wasn’t there a better warranty?
  • How much is it to replace?
  • How much did it cost to hire the lawyers who negotiated the settlement?

I’d like to hear the answers as well so I see this as a good development overall.

The City Council needs to be able to assert themselves in times like these, where there is concern or questions about the actions of the mayor, whoever the mayor is.

This isn’t the first time there have been questionable actions by a mayor. You’ll remember that Mayor Dave Munson got in very hot water over shifting money around to pay for Phillips to the Falls project and the railroad bridge at Pasley Park. It got so bad that Munson said he wasn’t running for re-election but then changed his mind and jumped back in, ultimately winning that second term.

Which is all to say that nothing good happens in darkness. Good government – contrary to the claims of Mayor Huether – is not done in secret. Even if you can justify the settlement as a good deal monetarily – and that is certainly in question – the damage done to the public trust did not, will not, cannot balance those scales.

“Just trust me, I’m with the government,” doesn’t cut it and never has.

So I’m happy to see the council rise up and demand the answers. Maybe next time the mayor, whoever it is, will think twice about trying to conduct the people’s business in some dusty corner of City Hall.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates or advertisers.

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