monumentToday, April 26th, 2011, the local newspaper, the Enid News & Eagle printed financial totals for the recent trip by city dignitaries to Washington D.C.  This trip is undertaken each year by both the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Enid.  The primary focus is on Vance Air Force Base and focusing on what Enid can do to keep in good standing should there ever be another round of base closures.

Here is a rundown of the expenses of the trip:

Going on the trip were commissioner-elect Ron Janzen and his wife, commissioner-elect Mike Stuber, commissioner-elect Tammy Wilson, Ward 6 Commissioner Todd Ging, Ward 4 Commissioner Drew Richie, Enid Regional Airport Director Dan Ohnesorge, City Planner Chris Bauer and wife, Assistant City Attorney Jen O’Steen, and Police Chief Brian O’Rourke.

Also attending were Fire Chief Phil Clover and his wife, and Military Liaison Mike Cooper, along with Enid consultant Curt Roggow.

Benson also authorized some spouses of commissioners and city staff to also make the trip at the city’s expense.

Expenses submitted to the city included costs for parking, meals, hotel, airfare and baggage, buses, taxis and metro, and mileage.

Expenses for Janzen and spouse totaled $1,948.13. Stuber’s costs were $1,895.23, Wilson $1,643.45, Ritchie $1,943.08, Ging $1,594.19, Ohnesorge $1,696.56, and Bauer and spouse $1,893.28.

Also O’Steen $1,806.51, O’Rourke $1,452.99, Clover and spouse $2,178.11, and Cooper $1,638.49. Cost of the legislative reception was $1,830.27, for a total of $21,520.29.

Roggow submitted an itemized bill. Those costs included Southwest Airlines from Oklahoma City to Baltimore, $912.50; Key  Bridge Marriott, Washington, D.C., $554.20; Travel from Baltimore airport to Washington, D.C., $115; travel from Washington to Baltimore, $100; taxi in Washington, D.C., $10; Metro subway, $5; fast track airport parking, $23.81 — totaling $1,720.51 for the trip.

Roggow also billed the city $4,000 for the month of April for consulting and lobbying services.

Source:  Enid News & Eagle ( http://enidnews.com/localnews/x1465575629/City-of-Enid-foots-trip-bill-of-more-than-21K )

As they seem to do on a yearly basis, the Enid News & Eagle article seems to take a critical tone about the use of taxpayer money for the trip.  Outgoing Mayor John Criner chimes in with his claim that he believes that any number the city sends over 3 people is a waste of money.  He is also critical of sending commissioners who have yet to take office.   These commissioners would be Mike Stuber and Tammy Wilson (In interest of full disclosure, Tammy Wilson is affiliated with the Route 60 Sentinel).  The editor of the News & Eagle has also gone on record (Article here) as saying the sending of the commissioner-elects.  If you read the article you will be treated with yet further and familiar reminders that Mrs. Allen knows better than the rest of us because not only is she a journalist and editor of a newspaper, but that she once served on a city council and was mayor of some town located somewhere else.   The newbies needed to go to educate themselves on how best to serve our city and stay ahead of the curve in regards to Vance Air Force Base.  Vance Air Force Base is a vital source of Enid’s economy and should be treated with as much respect and attention as possible.

Their article further goes on to point out that the taxpayers paid for expenses of some of the spouses to go on this trip.  I am going on record as saying that is flat-out bull-crap.  There is no way that taxpayer money should be going to pay for someone’s spouse to accompany our dignitaries on the trip.  This isn’t a vacation.  It’s about learning.  It’s about communicating with the right people in Washington.  It’s not about enjoying a few days with the wife in D.C.

 

Mayor McBoob

As for Mayor Criner, I am going to be placing a countdown clock on the front page of the website soon.  It will countdown the number of days until he is no longer the mayor of our fair city.  He embodies everything that is wrong with our community.  He’s stuck in his ways.  He’s grumpy.  Most importantly, he is a poor public representative of our city.

 

Now listen.  I’m all for fiscal conservation.  And I want to point out that I’m glad the Enid News & Eagle keeps up with this sort of thing.  But for some reason, it seems to stick in their craw.  This trip is essential.  Not only is it essential, I think its essential for all the commissioners AND our Mayor to represented on the trip as a sign of unity.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Until next time,